Untreated mental illness is linked to substance abuse.
New Hope Recovery Center is proud to announce that Jeff Zacharias, our Clinical Director and President, spoke in Seoul, South Korea at the 2016 Joint World Conference on Social Work, Education and Social Development. Jeff's discussion was on “Addiction, Mental Health & Trauma in the LGBTQI Community: Providing Hope for an Under-Served Population”.
Today, July 8 Jeff is speaking in Denver at the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) National Convention on“How to Erase Stigma in the LGBTQI Community “.
In August, you can hear Jeff speak at the National Conference on Addiction Disorders (NCAD) also in Denver. His talk “Chemsex in the City: The Intersection of Drugs, Sex, Technology and HIV/AIDS” will be presented at the conference: August 18-21, 2016.
And later in the year, Jeff is speaking at the Cape Cod Symposium on Addictive Disorders (CCSAD) in Hyannis, MA from September 8-11, 2016.
And at The Association for Addiction Professionals National Conference (NAADAC) in Minneapolis, MN – October 7-11, 2016.
For more information call 888-707-4673(HOPE) or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Written by: New Hope Recovery Center
The older adult population is often overlooked, poorly understood, and underserved group amongst substance abusers. According to recent research, there are approximately 7 risk factors associated with substance abuse in the elderly. They are as follows: being male, experiencing major life changes, loneliness/depression, a previous history with substance abuse, comorbid psychiatric disorder, a family history of addiction, trouble accessing treatment, and the stigma associated with treatment.
As individuals progress through the developmental stages of life, he/she must adapt to changes at each stage. The changes and tasks associated with older adulthood include coping with the loss of spouses, family and friends. As these losses begin compounding, one may find him/herself living alone or possibly losing their independence, without support and with failing health which limit accessibility to the outside world. Although men are more likely to abuse substances in general, older adult females often outlive their male counterparts, are more likely to report depression, anxiety, and trouble sleeping, and are thus more likely to receive prescriptions with high abuse potential such as the benzodiazepines and sedative-hypnotics.
In treating and working with older adults, it is imperative that health care providers understand substance abuse in the larger cultural context. The elderly often encounter ageist views within our society and as one ages, he/she may encounter growing negative messages about old age which leads to the use of substances to cope with these new found anxieties. When an older adult talks to a medical provider about anxiety or depression, they often overlook the possibility of substance abuse and prescribe medications that are easily addictive. This is putting many older adults at risk of substance abuse or misuse.
Generationally, older adults are not the most likely candidates for treatment, as they grew up in a time when there was a large stigma associated with mental illness/addiction. Mental illness and substance abuse are not easily overcome, and even more difficult to diagnose and treat when the individual is less likely to seek out help on their own. Substance abuse and addiction is a serious ailment, and it takes more than self-discipline and a strong will to overcome.
Treatment that is focused on the needs of the elderly will include screening for co-occurring disorders, vital outreach, and full inclusion of one's family and/or support system. Rather than wait for an individual to bring up the concern of substance abuse, depression, and anxiety, it is ideal for all providers to be proactive and inclusive when screening for this during appointments.
If you are a senior looking for help, or know someone who is, call New Hope Recovery Center and set up an assessment. The assessment is the first step towards getting the necessary help to improve the quality of life for yourself or the person you love.
Written by: New Hope Recovery Center
Want to read more about seniors and substance abuse? Check out this related article:
People often lump lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning and intersex individuals into one group, referring to this population as the LGBTQI Community. Bisexual individuals constitute an important group within this larger community whose specific concerns often remain hidden or ignored. A majority of sexuality and mental health research combines people that identify as lesbian, gay, or bisexual. This erroneously assumes their rates of mental health problems are similar. In actuality, research conducted in 2008 found bisexual people report more unmet health and mental health care needs than both heterosexual and gay or lesbian people.
Research on bisexuality from The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force found:
- Of the top ten health issues for the bisexual community: Substance use and Alcohol use are #1 and #2 issues, respectively.
- Bisexual women report the highest rates of alcohol use, heavy drinking, and alcohol-related problems compared to heterosexual and lesbian women.
- Other key health issues include high risk sexual behavior (particularly the combination of substance/alcohol use and sex), depression and anxiety, low levels of social support, the lowest emotional well-being of any sexual orientation group, and higher levels of self-harm, suicidal thoughts, and suicide attempts than heterosexuals, gay men, and lesbians.
Effective addiction treatment is critically needed for the bisexual community. Successful treatment should address the whole person, requiring an exploration of core issues underlying the abuse of drugs and/or alcohol. Providers of addiction treatment for the bisexual population should know and understand the key issues and barriers unique to this Community. Here are a few of these key obstacles:
- Social misconceptions: Unfortunately, society makes a number of incorrect assumptions about bisexuality. For example, bisexual individuals are often thought of as promiscuous, unfaithful, sex addicted, or involved in threesomes. For many people, bisexuality is not seen as a legitimate and healthy sexual identity. Instead, bisexuals are typically deemed “confused” or “afraid to admit they’re really gay.” It can be very easy for bisexual individuals to internalize these negative social attitudes and beliefs.
- Bisexual invisibility: Often, people say they finally feel like they belong once they reach the 12-Step rooms or enter addiction treatment. They feel enormous amounts of relief once they recognize they’re no longer alone. This feeling of acceptance allows people in recovery to move beyond long histories of isolation and loneliness into a sense of connectedness and feeling a part of something larger than themselves. Full recovery will not be possible if an individual continues to feels shame and a sense of loneliness surrounding their sexual identity. Many bisexual individuals do not find this kind of acceptance surrounding their sexual identity in part due to the small numbers of bisexual individuals openly out in society.
- Multiple stigmatized identities: Bisexual individuals with addiction face multiple layers of rejection and stigmatization. These individuals may feel like they have no place to fit in; rejected from the heterosexual community (in the form of homophobia) and rejected from the gay and lesbian community (in the form of biphobia). Mono-sexism is the false belief that a person can only be gay or straight. Gay or lesbian identity is perceived to be less stigmatized than bisexual identity. On top of all these forms of rejection based on their sexuality, bisexual individuals with addiction also face the social stigmas of being an addict or alcoholic.
Individuals with addiction who struggle to understand or accept their own bisexual identity may find themselves unable to give up alcohol or drugs as a coping mechanism. An important piece of self-acceptance may involve being out and open in all aspects of life.
An integral part of addiction treatment with New Hope Recovery Center’s New Hope with Pride program includes our full commitment to provide a safe and respectful environment for all Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning and Intersex clients to recover from addiction. The New Hope with Pride program assists clients to fully embrace who they are, develop healthy coping mechanisms, and live a life free from addiction. We have tailored this program for the unique needs of everyone in the LGBTQI Community and provide focused treatment for bisexual clients. If you want to find out more about New Hope Recovery Center you may contact us or call us at 773-883-3916.
Written by: New Hope Recovery Center
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