Author: Alfonso Holland
Everyone deals with life differently, therefore the way we manage circumstances attributes to our lives outcome. Poor mental and physical health are strong predictors of homelessness. Most often homeless individuals experience multiple risk factors and are unable to independently recover from these disparities. Suffering from a variety of mental health issues, including depression, schizophrenia, and personality disorders becomes consuming and taxing on the psyche. These issues affect between 15% to 60% of the homeless population. Mental health may be a risk factor for homelessness, but homelessness is a risk factor for mental illness.
Why do people choose to use drugs?
Many would say the it's because they want to do it, when in-fact drugs are a coping mechanism for those dealing with physical or emotional pain. A lot of times it isn't that individuals want to use drugs, but they choose to do them as a way to substitute a substance-induced feeling of euphoria for the less mundane reality in which they live. The drugs are powerful chemical compounds that trigger a reward cascade within the brain of the user that is many times more powerful than regular reinforcers like food, water or sex. In short they make the user feel good. If something increases the individual's sense of pleasure or decreases his discomfort, then he/she is likely to repeat the behavior.
How can we help?
This is a complex question that has no definitive answer. There are many ways in which intervention can assist those dealing with substance abuse and addiction, but it takes a person centered approach to achieve it. Research has shown that those with an substance use disorder tend to live alone or lack interpersonal supports. Those that are dealing with substance abuse must be brought face-to-face with the reality of the disorder, be detoxified if necessary, and begin rehabilitation. (Sadock and Sadock, 2007) After an Intervention, the treatment process must begin rehabilitation to help address the substance abuse disorder. Treatment is not a fixed duration, it is a process by which the patient's progress and needs help to determine the duration and focus of the rehabilitation effort (lee-Lee & Gastfriend, 2008).
The care of our loved ones will be ongoing as they are surviving the pain of life in the free world. #AMERICA