Helping Addicts Who Are Mentally Ill

How can we help the addict who is also mentally ill?

A. Understanding "Dual Diagnosis" -- Up to one-third of today's homeless adults are mentally ill. The trend toward "deinstitutionalization" of the mentally ill has meant that our city streets are now being flooded with people who at one time would have been hospitalized for their problems. As many as half of them are also addicted to alcohol and/or drugs. Many are "self-medicating" -- using addictive substances to cope with their mental problems. Social service professionals usually do not like working with these "dually diagnosed" people because they can be so demanding and time-consuming. They can be too destructive and troubled for the typical addiction recovery program. And, mental health workers shy away from them because they often do not stay sober long enough for treatments to be effective. So, they end up at the rescue mission.

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Copyright by Michael Liimatta. All Rights Reserved.
Mr. Liimatta is the past President of Christians in Recovery®
and currently serves on its Advisory Counsel. He has been instrumental
in the program of Alcoholics Victorious for over 20 years. He is a Social Entrepreneur,
Consultant to Nonprofit Organizations with OneAccord, Chief Academic
Officer at City Vision College and has been involved
with drug and alcohol counseling and recovery education for 30 years.
Visit his web site

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