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Friday, January 12, 2018

Pain in the Nation: Opioids, Alcohol, and Suicide

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The Trust for America's Health and the Well Being Trust released a report recently highlighting some rather dismal projections about mental illness in America. The authors of Pain in the Nation: The Drug, Alcohol and Suicide Crises and the Need for a National Resilience Strategy, have cause to believe that the current trends are likely to get worse. In the next decade, 1.6 million Americans could perish from drugs, alcohol, and suicide. Naturally, one of the primary driving forces of the stark estimate is the American opioid addiction epidemic.

Reports, like Pain in the Nation, are serious cause for concern and its projections should be used to encourage people to seek treatment for any mental illness. When people access substance-use-disorder-recovery-support-services, they can turn their lives around for the better. However, individuals are unable to confront psychiatric health conditions like addiction and depression on their own—psychosocial support is a must. As with any deadly health concern, time is of the essence. The report opens with:

The United States is facing a new set of epidemics — more than 1 million Americans have died in the past decade from drug overdoses, alcohol, and suicides (2006 to 2015). Life expectancy in the country decreased last year for the first time in two decades — and these three public health crises have been major contributing factors to this shift.


National Resilience Strategy

While opioids are the focal point of most addiction-related discussions of late, alcohol is a heavyweight contender when it comes to premature death. The Berkeley Research Group’s analysis indicates the alcohol-related mortality rate spiked in 2015, with 33,200 deaths—a 35-year high, according to U.S. News and World Report. If those numbers aren’t bad enough, the researchers found that in the last decade suicides rose by nearly 30 percent.

We’ve discussed opioids at such length there's probably little need to remind our readers of the staggering death toll; the more salient talking point is what we do about the crisis our nation faces. The authors call for a "National Resilience Strategy;" one that leads to reductions in suicide, drug use and alcohol abuse, the article reports. The means of achieving such a lofty goal is prevention and treatment expansion.

"These numbers are staggering, tragic – and preventable," John Auerbach, president of Trust for America's Health told U.S. News. "There is a serious crisis across the nation and solutions must go way beyond reducing the supply of opioids, other drugs and alcohol."


Addiction Treatment Is The Answer

Individuals in communities across the country must have access to screening so they can receive a proper diagnosis. Once diagnosed, effective treatments using evidence-based psychotherapies can then be implemented. If treatment is followed by psychosocial and recovery support services, people have the opportunity to heal and lead productive lives.

If you are battling alcohol and substance use disorder, now is the time to take actions that will lead to lasting addiction recovery. Whether you meet the criteria for addiction, or a use disorder that is accompanied by another form of mental illness (dual diagnosis), Whiteside Manor can help. Please contact us today to embark on the lifesaving journey of recovery, a quest that begins with addiction treatment.

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