The need for better mental health treatment

The recent apparent suicide of Country Music Superstar, Mindy Mcready has called new attention to the relationship between mental disorder and substance abuse. Those who were close to the singer/songwriter reported that she had battling significant psychological issues for a long time, as well as an addiction to OxyContin. She had characterized her life as a “beautiful mess” and confessed a mutual attraction to dangerous and chaotic relationships. Her struggle with drugs was highly publicized, including a 2010 appearance on Dr. Drew’s Celebrity Rehab and recent admission into another inpatient facility. Her death occurred just a short time after that of her boyfriend, David Wilson.

McCready’s unfortunate and tragic death is a classic example of how a drug problem is never just a drug problem. Patients seeking help with drug or alcohol addictions must also receive treatment for the mental disorders that aggravate them. It’s not enough to simply treat the immediate symptoms of the addiction; if patients don’t learn how to properly manage stress and trauma that leads to addiction, they will never be able to properly heal and get back to living a normal life. Individuals who undergo behavioral health therapy as part of their addiction treatment package are laying a solid foundation for successful recovery and healthy management of stress.
More often than not, a substance abuse problem is merely a symptom of a larger and more involved mental disorder. Many patients develop these conditions as a result of trauma, which many have suffered from their entire lives, and need help unlocking their origins from experienced professionals. The longer patients wait to get help for their mental health problems, the more severe the consequences and symptoms are likely to get. An unfortunate reality for many who struggle with an untreated mental disorder, specifically depression, is that they commit suicide or accidentally overdose on drugs.
Like all people who view suicide as they only way out, McCready suffered from a multitude of well-documented mental health problems; problems that were played out through toxic relationships, painkiller abuse, and ultimately the taking of her own life. Each day, thousands of afflicted and vulnerable people contemplate the desperate act of suicide, because they feel they have no other options; many of them end up seeing these dangerous thoughts through to the very end. For most, if not all, quality professional behavioral health therapy could have meant the difference between life and death.
As dramatic of a gesture as suicide is, the feelings and emotions leading up to it very often go undetected by even those who are closest to the victim. While some may openly and publicly struggle with their demons, as was the case for McCready, many suffer in the shadows just waiting for someone to reach out to them. If you or someone you care about is struggling with substance abuse or suicidal thoughts, there is always a way out…and it’s never suicide.
Susan M.
Rochester Hills, MI