Substance Abuse and Mental Health in Nebraska

Nebraska is like other states in that there are many people living and working here who struggle with substance abuse and addiction. However, some of these people also have co-occurring mental health disorders over and above their drug and alcohol abuse, which often tends to complicate their long term recovery.

Research studies have shown that addiction - also known as a substance use disorder - is a chronic disease of the brain. This condition is often characterized by an ongoing compulsion to keep on using drugs and drinking alcohol excessively. This is in spite of the harmful social and medical consequences that arise.

One of these consequences revolves around mental illness, which might occur as a result of substance abuse or be revealed in the course of such drug use. When this happens, it is known as a co-occurring disorder or a dual diagnosis.

Co-Occurring Substance Abuse and Mental Health Disorders

Research and statistical findings show that Nebraska has some of the highest rates of drug abuse - particularly involving both illicit as well as prescription medications. Many people abuse opioid pain relief medications.

In 2015 from May to June, the state reported five CVS robberies where the suspects were attempting to steal pills containing the opioid drug oxycodone. Apart from these illegal activities, other people engage in doctor shopping to get new prescriptions filled even when they do not need these medications.

In 2014, Nebraska also reported that all the 40 percent of the drug overdoses that were reported involved opioids and opioid-related drugs like heroin and fentanyl. These drugs were responsible for close to 4 times as many overdoses as those caused by psychostimulants and methamphetamine.

With such high rates of substance abuse and addiction in the state, it is not surprising that some people often also struggle with other mental illnesses. for instance, 12.3 percent of the residents of Nebraska in their teenage years suffered major depression in 2016. The previous year, close to 58,000 of adults - a total of 4.2 percent of the entire adult population in the state reported that they were struggling with severe suicidal thoughts.

This is not surprising especially when you consider that most of the people who are dealing with mental illness often turn to alcohol and drugs to self-medicate the signs and symptoms of their conditions as well as the emotions and thoughts are associated with mental health disorders.

However, this often ends up worsening a situation that is already bad. This is because substance abuse and addiction can exacerbate the symptoms of mental health disorders, such as depression.

Common Mental Health Problems Associated with Drug Abuse in Nebraska

A study conducted in 2014 and 2015 reported that an annual average of 58,000 adults in the state of Nebraska struggled with serious suicidal thoughts. During the same period, 62,000 adults - about 4.4 parent of the entire adult population of the state - also struggled with serious mental illnesses.

Between 2011 and 2015, 42.9 percent of the adults in the state used mental health services. this was the same rate as that reported at the national level. However, 46.8 percent of this population did not receive the mental health treatment and rehabilitation services that they needed.

The same study also reported that about 114,000 adults struggling with AMI between 2011 and 2015 receive the mental health recovery services that they need to manage these disorders. This study was conducted by a partnership between the National Survey on Drug use and Health - the NSDUH - and SAMHSA - the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Among the adults who were served in the public mental health system in Nebraska in 2015, 38 percent were aged between 18 and 20 years. Of this number, 43 percent were between the ages of 21 and 64 years while 81 percent were above the age of 65 years. These figures correspond to the adults seeking treatment who were not in the labor force.

The same year, 1820 teenagers and children below the age of 17 years were served by the public mental health system in the state. The annual average percentages of teens and children who reported improved functioning in the state, however, were lower than in the rest of the country.

In terms of substance abuse, other studies reported that heroin and alcohol were the most commonly abused drugs in the state. Between 2014 and 2015, for instance, the annual average percentage of heroin use in the past year among people above the age of 12 years was at the same level as the national average percentages. During this period, it was estimated that an average of 3,000 people within this age group - a number that is the same as 0.21 percent of the entire population in the age group - reported abusing heroin within the past year.

Additionally, it was reported that an annual average of 106,000 people above the age of 12 years - about 6.8 percent of the population within this age group - had struggled with an alcohol use disorder within the past year.

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As you can see, there is a direct correlation between the rates of substance abuse and the reports of mental illness in the state. Like the rest of the country, Nebraska continues reporting high rates of dual diagnosis.

This occurs when someone has received a diagnosis for both a substance use disorder - or an addiction - as well as a co-occurring mental health disorder. When this happens, the individual often requires highly specialized treatment to manage both of these disorders.

If you have an undiagnosed mental illness, you might resort to substance abuse to manage the signs, symptoms, and effects of your illness. Although this form of self-medication might work in the short term, it does not always work for long.

In particular, ongoing substance abuse will give rise to worsening symptoms of the mental health disorder that you have been diagnosed with. It can also cause you to suffer from other negative symptoms associated with your growing tolerance, dependence, and addiction.

Types of Treatment

There are many treatment and recovery options available in Nebraska for people struggling with substance abuse and mental illness. The facilities in these state can provide you with the help that you need to overcome the disorders and get started on the road to recovery.

These programs are categorized into inpatient and outpatient dual diagnosis treatment centers. in an inpatient facility, you would be required to live in the recovery center and receive round the clock medical care, supervision, and management services to ensure that you are able to get started on the road to health and wellness.

There are also outpatient programs that can also guide you towards recovery without requiring that you live at the treatment and recovery center. These options are ideal after you have already gone through intensive inpatient treatment.

When you have received a dual diagnosis, it means that you have been struggling with both substances abuse and addiction as well as a co-occurring mental health disorder. In this satiation, you would require highly specialized and integrated treatment.

This treatment should be evidence-based, meaning that it should be provided based on scientific evidence showing that it works. When you receive integrated treatment, it means that the recovery center will coordinate both mental health and substance abuse interventions to ensure that it offers you long term recovery. This integrated treatment can also treat you as a whole person and not just manage the signs and symptoms of your addiction and mental illness.

Through these programs, you will receive a combined treatment that takes care of both your addiction as well as your co-occurring mental health disorder. You will typically work with the same treatment or clinical team to ensure you enjoy the highest chances of overcoming these disorders.

These integrated dual diagnosis treatment programs will also help you develop the support, skills, knowledge, and hope that you need to manage your disorders as well as start turning your life around to health, wellness, recovery, productivity, and success.

These programs understand that mental health disorders are just some of the factors that contribute to substance abuse and addiction. Further, they will explain that there is no single universal treatment that can work for everybody struggling with these disorders.

To this end, they will provide you with a highly tailored treatment and recovery program that is going to address all your individual requirements and needs. These programs will often start you on an inpatient recovery setting before recommending that you make the transition to an outpatient setting once you have managed your conditions.

That said, the individual treatment program that you will receive will vary widely from that of others in terms of intensity and time commitments. For instance, if you have a severe substance use disorder accompanied by a serious mental illness, you will require more intensive treatment that lasts much longer than someone else who just has a mild addiction with a new mental illness.

The important thing is to ensure that you get the help that you need to overcome all the disorders that you have been diagnosed with. For this reason, it is recommended that you enroll in an integrated dual diagnosis treatment and rehabilitation program.

Learning what treatment is best for you or your loved one is easy. Speak to one of our trained counselors and let them guide you to the best treatment options available for your specific needs.


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