National Mental Wellness Month

Good mental health improves our lives in so many ways, while mental health struggles can make life so difficult.

Mental health and addiction are often connected. An addiction to drugs or alcohol could make us depressed, anxious, or contribute to other conditions.

Sometimes, people who are depressed, anxious, or have eating disorders or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) use alcohol or drugs to cope with the symptoms of their conditions.

If a person has both a mental illness and an addiction, he or she has a condition known as a dual diagnosis or a co-occurring disorder. Treating both parts of the condition is important so one doesn’t influence the other.

To treat mental illnesses and addictions and prevent them from occurring, we could

• Visit therapists, especially ones who specialize in treating substance abuse and other problems we may be facing.
• Attend rehab facilities. Most centers use different types of therapy as part of their treatment protocols.
• Learn about addiction and mental illness. There are many Internet sites related to the government and universities that have useful resources on mental illnesses.
• Talk with others. There’s no shame in asking for help. Maybe other people have faced similar struggles and can use these personal experiences to assist you.

While January is National Mental Wellness Month, it’s important to promote mental wellness all year long. Our lives depend on it.