There are so many things that people were blamed for in the past that we now realize are an illness. Addiction is one. When we talk about addiction we immediately think about alcohol or drugs. Recently I have wondered if these addictions begin as an attempt to assuage anxiety and or depression. It is one way to medicate these problems. I also think that many people have no idea why they feel the way they do and taking a drink or an illegal drug seems to be the answer. It solves the problem for the moment and the only trouble is that it adds another dimension to the picture.
I have wondered how many people who seek help for addiction will finally discover that there is an underlying issue to be considered. I know little about rehab programs for addiction and don’t know if they address this or not. Obviously, if someone has been masking a mental issue removing the drugs/alcohol may only bring the primary problem to the fore and if it is not dealt with there is little hope that the person can stay sober.
The more we learn about our mental health and the problems related to it the more we learn how linked they are to each other and to related problems. I hope that as we continue the research we can remove the blame and belittling of those of anyone struggling with these issues.
For too long both those with addictions and those with mental health issues have been second class citizens. As we learn more we are discovering that a much larger percentage of the world’s population suffers with some mental health problem. I think that the number will grow as more are recognized. We are definitely not alone. Much has been hidden for a long time with people unwilling to share.
For this reason we must continue to highlight these issues, call for more research and remove and stigmas. It must change.