What we need to know about mental health and substance abuse

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Jenifer Gorder, LCSW, and Clinical Manager of Behavioral Health Services at Ogden Regional Medical Center joined ABC4 today to discuss Co-occurring disorder and how we can help those we love who are diagnosed.

According to Dr. Gorder, Co-Occurring means that an individual has 2 separate conditions that exist together or affect the person. A combination of 2 different forces that impact symptomology, treatment, and outcome. Most commonly people experience substance use disorder and mental health disorders. This is because each one puts a person at a higher risk to experience the other.

Statistically, addiction puts people at a higher risk for a mental health disorder. Mental health disorders put people at a higher risk for addiction. The likelihood of a person experiencing a co-occurring

Most importantly people with co-occurring disorders are no different than any of us. We are all human and we all have struggles and difficulties, some we can see and some we cannot.

Dr. Gorder wants to focus on the strength and resiliency factors that people with substance use disorder have:

  • Wisdom; overcome and endured things many of us would not be able to handle or would not want to know about.
  • Courage; reach out to strangers and make themselves vulnerable, asking for help.
  • Sensitivity; people with co-occurring disorders have a sensitivity to emotions and thoughts that would debilitate others.  They have a tendency to be Intune with their emotions and life experience, they just need additional coping skills.
  • Endurance; Recovery is a journey.  It is not a destination.  People who find, want, or need recovery are in it for the long haul.  It isn’t easy, but it is easier when you are inspired daily by others who are fighting to overcome.
  • Opportunistic; Give their family members and loved ones multiple opportunities to be introspective, forgive, learn, and fight for their own recovery. 

A few tips from Dr. Gorder and Ogden Regional Medical Center about helping and inspiring someone (or yourself) with an addiction or a co-occurring disorder:

  • Support and love them. 
  • Reach out to them and let them know you are there to talk, go to a movie, take them to get their medication filled, get ice-cream, whatever the need.
  • When they reach out – BE THERE.
  • Educate yourself on addiction and mental health. 
  • The more knowledge you have the better you can understand the symptoms and behavior.

Don’t define the person or their experience through a diagnosis.  A diagnosis provides symptoms, treatment, and understanding, NOT what a person is.

  • Take care of yourself.  Seek your own therapy, own hobbies, and your own support network.  Keep your own mental health safe through knowing your own limits to caring and giving.
  • Share your knowledge and experience.  Help remove the stigma from mental health and addiction.
  • 19.7 million Americans have a substance use disorder.
  • 22% of Utahans experience a mental illness, which is one of the highest states in the Nation.
  • 50% of Americans have a family history of addiction.
  • 53% of substance abuse disorder patients have at least 1 mental health disorder.
  • 29% of people with Mental Health disorders also have substance use disorders.

Ogden Regional has several options for those who may want to seek help or treatment. They have 6 programs for addiction recovery, from detox, inpatient, outpatient, and aftercare.  We also have several options for mental health treatment from an acute inpatient stay to online outpatient mental health treatment.  If those options don’t work we have a wealth of resources, referrals, and ways to get you the help you need.

For more information about how Ogden Regional Medical Center can help you or a loved one, Visit their website.

If you or a family member are experiencing a medical emergency, dial 9-1-1.

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