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Congresswoman Debbie Dingell reiterates need for better access to dual diagnosis treatment
Posted in Dual diagnosis

Debbie Dingell, member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Michigan’s 12th district, recently joined WEMU’s David Fair to discuss about the twin demons jeopardizing an individual’s life:  addiction and mental health problems. During the community forum attended by international politicians, activists and celebrities in the state, Dingell stressed on the need for greater empathy and care for those suffering from addiction as well as mental illness.

Dingell is not new to the dark world of addiction and the horrors it entails. Her father had abused prescription medications for a major portion of his life. Her sister grappled with drugs even before she had turned 10 and ultimately succumbed to its harsh effects. Though times have changed for the better since then, Dingell’s views concerning the universality of addiction problems in the country remain the same.

Putting a spotlight on mental illness and addiction

Dingell told the 89.1 WEMU’s David Fair about how community conversations could help do away with the sense of discrimination associated with people who are addicted, thus, protecting them from the backlash they fear. Discussing issues like mental disorders helps people understand the necessity of seeking certified treatment as opposed to adopting self-medicating measures like taking drugs and alcohol that only worsen their condition, she said.

A major percentage of Americans are in need of treatment for co-occurring disorders of addiction and mental disorders. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), in 2015, among the 19.6 million adults suffering from a past year substance use disorder (SUD), 8.1 million had a mental illness. Patients exhibiting signs of both drug addiction and mental disorder are actually living with problems of dual diagnosis.

Excessive indulgence in drugs can cause abusers to experience one or more mental illnesses. The reverse also holds true in certain cases as mentally disoriented patients take to drugs or alcohol to alleviate feelings of pain and distress stemming from emotional distress. Dual diagnosis problems include any combination of dependence on the effects of an illicit substance and disorders pertaining to the mind. According to a report titled “Comorbidity: Addiction and other mental illnesses” published online by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), people detected with mood or anxiety disorders are two times more likely to abuse drugs or suffer from substance use disorder when compared with respondents in general.

Data published by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) list the following emotional disorders with heightened risk of drug abuse:

Disorder Risk
Antisocial personality disorder 15.5%
Manic episode 14.5%
Schizophrenia 10.1%
Panic disorder 4.3%
Major depressive episode 4.1%
Obsessive compulsive disorder 3.4%
Phobias 2.1%


Way to recovery

Co-occurring problems of addiction and mental disorder can be complex and hence, their treatment process is equally challenging. Experts recommend treatment of both the conditions simultaneously to ensure complete recovery. Sovereign Health is a leading behavioral and mental health care provider in the U.S. Our El Paso facility in Texas specializes in treating all kinds of dual diagnosis problems. Our dual diagnosis treatment centers in Texas aid in the quick recovery of patients suffering from co-occurring disorders of substance abuse and mental illness. Call our 24/7 helpline or chat online for more information about the nature of programs available in our dual diagnosis rehab centers in your vicinity. Remember that timely treatment can help in avoiding other complications arising from dual diagnosis.

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