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Wisconsin senator speaks about late mother’s struggles with co-occurring disorders

May 4, 2018 opioid


Wisconsin senator speaks about late mother’s struggles with co-occurring disorders

Democratic senator from Wisconsin Tammy Baldwin recently revealed about her mother’s mental disorder and opioid addiction, hoping to encourage others facing similar problems to open up. “This epidemic hits close to home for me and for so many others,” said an emotional Baldwin, who is gearing up for re-election this year.

Baldwin was speaking to a woman from Milwaukee who also shared her father’s struggles with drug abuse. The 56-year-old senator believes that silence only aggravates co-occurring disorders, while speaking about them encourages affected persons to seek help. The death of Baldwin’s 75-year-old mother Pamela Bin-Rella after years of grappling with dual diagnosis pushed her to speak about the comorbid condition.

At the time of Baldwin’s birth, her mother was only 19 and was ripped apart by the pain of her broken marriage and imminent divorce. Raised by her grandparents, the senator only got to spend Saturdays with her mom. “As a child, I only remember my mom used to take strong medicines to cope with her chronic pain,” she said. The pain, which gradually weakened Baldwin’s mother, led to the development of full-blown bipolar disorder and dependence on the pills.

Experts say treating co-existing conditions of mental health and substance use disorders can pose an immense challenge. Such dual disorders actually feed on each other and keep the problem alive. In the U.S., millions suffer from dual diagnosis. According to the 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), about 8.2 million Americans aged 18 and above had both any mental illness (AMI) and substance use disorders (SUDs) in the past year. Mental health professionals suggest that both the conditions should be treated simultaneously for a lasting recovery.

Common ways to treat people with dual disorders

  • Detoxification: This procedure is conducted to eliminate the toxins, accumulated due to prolonged drug or alcohol abuse, from the bloodstream of patients suffering from dual disorders. Detoxification is generally the first major step on the road to recovery.
  • Medications: Based on external manifestations, and nature of comorbidity, recuperative medications are administered, in addition to cognitive behavioral therapies (CBTs), to reduce drug cravings and improve withdrawal symptoms. These medications work wonders by targeting the receptors in the brain associated with drug to eliminate the desire for reward.
  • Psychotherapy: Psychotherapy, along with counseling, is used to make patients aware about the importance of mental health and its impact on their overall well-being. It is also useful to help people suffering from co-existing disorders cope with their battles and make a conscious effort to rectify their negative thinking patterns.
  • Support groups: These include non-clinical services that are used with treatment to assist patients on their journey to recovery. Such groups provide an unbiased platform for members to share experiences, success stories, words of hope and encouragement, and handy advice.

Seeking treatment for dual diagnosis

Dealing with strong urges for intoxication has always been tough for both drug users and care providers. Things get further complicated if someone struggles with mental health problems like depression, anxiety or bipolar disorder, in addition to addiction. Nevertheless, regular care from trained physicians and customized therapies, including integrated interventions, can help patients completely recover from dual conditions.

If you or a loved one is struggling to overcome dual diagnosis symptoms, contact the Recover Mental Health. Our representatives will give you all the information about the best dual diagnosis treatment centers in your vicinity. Call us at our 24/7 helpline number 866-593-2339 or chat online with one of our experts to know more about evidence-based treatment for co-occurring conditions.

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