Tag Archives: Statistics


The Above Ground Charity Event is being presented by Dave Navarro and Billy Morrison in partnership with Revolver Gallery. The event is to raise awareness and funds for the treatment of mental health. Two iconic albums will be played in their entirety with an all star band and special guests. The event takes place at The Belasco Theater 1050 S. Hill St. Los Angeles, CA, Monday April 16th. Tickets are on sale now from ticketmaster and livenation. Proceeds donated to MusiCares.

This is an event I would love to attend. I’m just not sure it’s a good idea. My physical health isn’t the greatest but I could also feel worse because of my environment. I have flown to California alone before but I’ve never spent time alone there. It’s a decision making time and I’m not good at decisions. lol


Roughly 50% of people with a severe mental illness are also affected by substance abuse.

What is considered “severe mental illness”?

  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Schizophrenia
  • Major Depressive Disorder
  • Borderline Personality Disorder
  • Social Anxiety Disorder
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Mental Illness is caused by a combination of genetics (your family history), your environment, and other outside factors.

37% of alcohol abusers and 53% of drug abusers also have at least one serious mental illness.

Alcohol and drug abuse are often used to self-medicate the symptoms of mental health problems that have gone undiagnosed. In the long term this worsens symptoms.

Evidence shows that people who abuse opioid painkillers are at greater risk of depression and marijuana users have an increased risk of psychosis.

Alcohol abuse increases the symptoms of mental illness or even triggers new symptoms, it also makes antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications, and mood stabilizers less effective.


  • Do you use alcohol or drugs to cope with unpleasant memories or feelings, to control pain or the intensity of your moods, to face situations that frighten you, or to stay focused on tasks?
  • Have you noticed a relationship between your substance abuse and your mental health? EX: Do you get depressed when you drink?
  • Has someone in your family struggled with either a mental illness or alcohol/drug abuse?
  • Do you feel depressed or anxious even when you’re sober?
  • Do you have unresolved trauma or a history of abuse?
  • Do you ever feel guilty or ashamed about your alcohol/drug use?
  • Have you ever blacked out?
  • Has your alcohol/drug use gotten you into trouble with the law?
  • Has your alcohol/drug use caused problems with your friends/family?


When looking for treatment make sure the program is licensed,  accredited and has  experience with your particular mental health issue.

The treatment addresses both substance abuse and mental health.

You share in the decision making process and are actively involved in the strategies used to help you cope with challenges and stress. It’s a waste of everyone’s time if you’re not going to do what’s suggested because you have trouble concentrating or memory issues. These things have to be shared and talked about so a program can be tailored to your specific needs.

I realize when I look at something in chart form or statistics I think it looks simple. Nothing is simple when it comes to mental health and addiction. If it was simple we wouldn’t have so many people dying.

Society is worried about gun violence when Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death among 15-34 year olds. It’s 3rd among 10-14 year olds and the 10th leading cause of death overall.

There were 47,193 Suicides last year compared to 17,793 Homicides. I think the focus is on the wrong subject.



I like statistics and research but it’s hard to see some numbers when they are not changing much year after year. It’s even harder knowing that not much is being done about it. Here is some of the newest information and you can decide for yourself.

  • Approximately 1 in 5 adults experiences mental illness in a given year.
  • 1 in 25 adults experiences serious mental illness in a given year that interferes with or limits 1 or more major live activities.
  • 1.1% of adults live with Schizophrenia.
  • 2.6% live with Bipolar Disorder.
  • 6.9% had at least 1 major depressive episode in the past year.
  • 18.1% experienced an anxiety disorder such as PTSD, OCD, and specific phobias.
  • Among the 20.2 million adults who experience a substance abuse disorder 50.5% had a co-occurring mental illness.
  • Half of all chronic mental illness begins by age 14.
  • Despite effective treatment there are long delays, sometimes decades, between the first signs of symptoms and a diagnosis.
  • People living with serious mental illness face an increased risk of chronic medical conditions.
  • People with serious mental illness die on average 25 years earlier than other people.
  • More than 90% of children who die by suicide have a mental health condition.
  • Each day an average of 18-22 veterans die by suicide because they don’t get the help they need.

This is a report sent to the government every year. Every year nothing changes. I’m one person with limited time left to change things. I don’t have the energy to change my socks. I have severe chronic medical conditions that interfere with my mental health.

Last night I received a phone call about my student loan. I started crying on the phone. I was babbling and stuttering. At one point I said “My dad is worried right now he won’t have the money to bury me so how can I pay you?”. The thing is the loan isn’t supposed to be there. If something happened where you went on Disability after school and didn’t even get a chance to really use what you learned they are supposed to “forgive” the loan. But only if the paper from Disability says when your next review is.

I’ve asked Disability to send me the paper 4 times. Each time I get the same one saying that I’m on Permanent Disability but there is no mention of a review so they won’t except it. I get frustrated when the loan people call because I can’t understand why they won’t take it. I told them I’m sick enough that I don’t need a review! I won’t be getting better only worse. That’s why they won’t put a review date on there.

I’m at a point where I don’t care. One of my birds is dying and we’ve had her for over 20 years, my Pomeranian won’t be here much longer she’s 14 and has had epilepsy since she was 3. My dad’s health is getting worse, he looks like skeleton and I don’t want to be the one who finds him. I don’t want to watch another parent die. It’s too much. I can’t do it. We fight sometimes now because we’re both sick but before that we were like best friends. We would go to the movies together, do anything that involved animals together, watch TV together and laugh, he kept me sober for the first 5 years by being there. He’s always been there. Mentally I know it will break me.

It’s why I want to move to Florida or at least spend a few months out of the year there. If only everything wasn’t about money. My sister acted excited about the new jewelry I’ve been making and said she wanted to help with marketing. Of course I can’t get in touch with her now or when I do she’s too tired to talk. She’s the best salesperson I know and has a friend who owns a boutique and likes my jewelry. I’m being selfish. She probably is tired. I’m just confused and scared.


My feelings on Alcoholism and the treatment of Alcoholism is very different from most people. I realize that everyone has to do what works for them. I don’t pass judgement on anyone for their choice in how they maintain sobriety.

Recently I read a quick article about a 35 year old woman who died from liver failure due to alcohol related issues. She had made herself into somewhat of a Celebrity by gaining the most followers on Myspace when it was popular. Vanity Fair did an article on her, she started her own clothing line, rock stars followed her account, and she was the first Kim Kardashian.

I couldn’t find anything about her past or family. I do think it says something that a person would post such a large amount of selfies to draw followers and attention. I think even though she had 800,000 followers she was probably still lonely.

No one wakes up one day and says “I think I’ll start drinking and continue until I ruin everyone and everything around me”. I know I didn’t. I just wanted the overload of pain and feeling like I never belonged to go away even if it was only for a short time.

When some people do realize they have a problem and want to get help many programs are focused on the wrong things. I get it, I made mistakes, I hurt people, I should make amends and take responsibility. But I should also think back to that first drink and what was going on at the time that I felt like I needed to keep drinking. What feeling did alcohol provide that I couldn’t provide myself?

That was the biggest issue. Yes, it’s great to know that you’re not the only one who’s done stupid things and hearing other people’s stories works for a short time. You can only share your stories so many times. If I had to hear “I was a piss your pants barroom broad” one more time I was going to piss my pants out of boredom. Every time I achieved some sobriety with a program I would slip, feel ashamed, and give up.

This last time was different. I had been diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder and given some insight about self-medicating.

I took that first drink to “fit in”. I continued to drink to make everything I didn’t want to feel or experience go away. It worked for years but created more things I wanted to forget, traumatic experiences and affected my health.

Several years before I stopped drinking I was told that my Liver was enlarged. I ignored it and kept drinking. I also lost a significant amount white and grey matter. No one knows for sure how much is due to alcohol abuse. Some of the alcohol I consumed daily was rotgut. I wouldn’t be surprised. I also have some issues with my Pancreas. I think Alcoholism needs to be looked at differently when being treated. I believe you’re not just treating an Alcohol Addiction you’re also treating other underlying issues.


  • Alcohol is the 4th leading preventable cause of death
  • An estimated 88,000 people die from alcohol related causes a year
  • Around 5.1 million Adults 18+ have a problem with alcohol
  • Around 623,000 adolescents 12-17 have a problem with alcohol
  • 45.8% of Liver Disease deaths involve alcohol





I have a constant need to explain to the people around me why I am the way I am. Some of them think they know all there is to know and have stopped listening. There are others who feel guilty and don’t want to talk about it.

I have said for a few years now that nothing is working. But recently I have also admitted some things about myself and the people I have blamed. Let me start with some useful information.


  1. Seroquel
  2. Brintellix
  3. Viibryd
  4. Latuda
  5. Saphris
  6. Cymbalta
  7. Abilify
  8. Lexapro
  9. Paxil
  10. Prozac
  11. Effexor
  12. Adderall
  13. Topamax
  14. Klonopin
  15. Ativan
  16. Celexa
  17. Trazodone
  18. Tramadol
  19. Buspar
  20. Rexulti

At this point I’m on a combo of Viibryd, Adderall, and Topamax. Is it working? Not really. I’m not exactly running to tell my Doctor so I can go through another process of horrendous side effects only to have the medication not work or make things worse.

  • 50 % of Bipolar Individuals who get to a place of some “normalcy” will relapse within 2 years.
  • Clinicians and Diagnosticians can’t agree on a standard definition of Treatment Resistant Bipolar Disorder even though it is often seen in practices.
  • The standard practice for medication with Bipolar Patients is to combine several medications.
  • There is no set standard on which medication to use first or the dosage.
  • Recent studies show that Treatment Resistant Bipolar Patients are at a much higher risk of suicide and 25% of them have an alcohol problem. (This was specific to just alcohol)

Confirming a diagnosis for these patients can take years. These patients do not volunteer information, are poor historians, and need constant direction. If manic they will have a lack of awareness, an inability to know the consequences of their behavior and sometimes show arrogance.

Only 2 medications have officially been approved by the FDA to specifically treat Bipolar Disorder. Seroquel and Symbyax ( Prozac with Zyprexa). Traditional antidepressants have little benefit for Bipolar Depression and may actually cause a switch to mania. Effexor, Cymbalta, and Pristiq have been known to cause this to happen.

Lithium with Lamictal are still considered to be the most effective.

Personally I can’t take Lithium because I only have one kidney. I also realized when reading this that I might have been viewing things the wrong way.

In earlier years when I was forced to go to Therapy or a Psychiatrist I was still drinking and in my late teens, early twenties. It’s possible I didn’t volunteer information or give an accurate history. Most likely I didn’t realize the consequences of my behavior either. I’ve blamed my late diagnosis on the Doctors but I may be responsible too.

If they had looked at my file and seen the drinking, erratic behavior, and read one or two of the forms I filled out it may have helped. There were questions about promiscuity, spending habits, sleep habits, if family and friends sometimes thought you were “too hyper”, and questions about depression that should have set off some red flags.

I’m willing to take some responsibility now. I’m also willing to try again. I don’t want to be estranged from my family. I’m sick of thinking that every time I interact with someone I later overthink it. I immediately think I bothered them, I talked too much, I was annoying, they couldn’t wait to get away from me. I then sit in my car and cry. This isn’t living it’s just existing. cc368620fd2cc6600e7206dcda6a7240




It seems that lately when you turn on the television there is a “Breaking News” report. It isn’t just an attack overseas or race related in the United States. More times than I would like to hear the violence is often attributed to someone who is “mentally ill”. Sometimes the News Stations will actually give the diagnosis of Schizophrenia or Bipolar Disorder. According to my recent count Bipolar is in the lead. Even though Bipolar Disorder comes in many different variations, that part never seems to be discussed. The fact that a person can and probably does have a coexisting illness like substance abuse or another underlying mental illness is somehow kept out of the discussions also.

To make matters worse we have the recent Scientific Study published by JAMA Psychiatry. It was made available July 13, 2016. The Study was actually done by Dr. Seena Fazelm, University of Oxford. The study uses 2.8 million subjects from the years 1958 to 1988. The Study focuses on the range of triggers for violent acts in patients with psychotic disorders and those with a psychiatric diagnosis.

There were six triggers used to examine the response of the participants.

  • Exposure to violence
  • Parental Bereavement
  • Self-harm
  • Traumatic Brain Injury
  • Unintentional Injury
  • Substance Abuse

34,903 Schizophrenic individuals participated in this study. They had the highest incident for violent crime after being exposed to a trigger within a week.

29,692 Bipolar individuals participated in this study. They came in second for having the highest incident for violent crime after being exposed to a trigger within a week.

The rest came in last with a low rate of incidence.

Let’s disregard for a moment that the study’s time frame does make a difference. Medication, Therapy, and many other circumstances have changed since 1988. I can’t imagine a worse time period to study the mentally ill than 1958 to 1988. There are many documentaries that you can watch to prove this. Cropsey comes to mind.

Another issue is grouping Bipolar Disorder as a whole and not breaking it down like it should be. Even though I have 2 Schizophrenic family members I’m not as sure of the differences. They both had extreme paranoia at times. Both thought people spoke to them that were not there and both hallucinated at times. It seemed similar to me but they were brother and sister and that could’ve been why. My apologies for not doing more research in that area. Neither one of them were ever violent that I know of. My Uncle Jimmy could have had to be because he was often homeless and in an area where there was often violence. I really don’t think so. Due to his height 6’4″ and his look I think they would’ve left him alone.

I also would like to know what the difference would be in people with PTSD faced with the same triggers. Isn’t it almost the same? If I had gone through a traumatic event, which I have, and a week later something or someone pushes my mind back to that event and I feel cornered or threatened wouldn’t I think I was defending myself? Or preventing anything similar to the previous trauma from happening again?

Are the mentally ill more vulnerable to these triggers? Probably. What isn’t explained is what makes them so vulnerable. We are not a group of people, hiding in our basements with an arsenal of weapons,plotting ways to destroy “normal” lives.

The majority of us just want someone to say ” I hear you, I might not understand all of it but I’ll still be here”. I want my family to hug me again, to talk to me like they used to, to invite me to family outings. I want to see my nephews who are a part of me because they come from my twin sister. They were always so happy to see me they would run as fast as they could to jump in my arms. It’s been months since I’ve been allowed to see them. No one will tell me why.

The only one being hurt is me. I’m a number and word in black and white. I’ve usually only hurt myself and I have not done that in many years. It doesn’t mean I don’t think about it. For some reason when I think about it my headache goes away and I calm down. I know it isn’t healthy and I’ll find another way.

Right now with an election coming up, we need to do what we can to change the perception of mental illness and violence. We have to stop being used as scapegoats. At some point the medical community needs to be held accountable for it’s part.


I had my first taste of alcohol by the age of 7. It was while sitting on my father’s knee that I asked if I could try what he was drinking. It was beer in a brown glass bottle. That’s all I remember. In another ten years I would be an alcoholic. In another 20 years I would reach and maintain sobriety for over 7 years. I still struggle. Understanding the reasons why help me in being sober. Although I admit the frustration it brings also makes me question why I stay sober.

“The Gateway Theory” has been talked about often and brought up again during campaign season. Governor Chris Christie has been the most vocal on this issue siting marijuana as the biggest drug leading to harder drug use and addiction.

Tobacco, and alcohol are also listed as gateway drugs. I personally have never known any tobacco user to decide “Gee, this nicotine isn’t working for me anymore. I think I’ll try some Meth.” I have seen people who don’t usually smoke do so when drinking. Whatever that means.

Researchers from Texas A & M and the University of Florida say it doesn’t matter which came first, it matters HOW EARLY. Kids who had their first drink in the 6th and 7th grade went on to try on average 2 illicit substances later on. Kids who waited until the 12th grade to drink only tried on average .4 illegal substances.

The first time I ever got DRUNK was in the 11th grade and I tried several illicit substances after.

Researchers can’t really tell us why kids are drinking earlier due to the factors of genetics and environment. And that is true about most studies concerning addiction and mental health.

“Integrated Treatment of Addiction and Mental Illness” is a topic that too few people are discussing.

4 Million Americans this last year suffered from Mental Health Disorders along with Substance Abuse Disorders. I know some people argue whether or not these should be labeled as “Disorders”. For today they are.

When a person suffers from substance abuse and mental health issues they are considered to have a “Dual Diagnosis”. I’m a Bipolar Alcoholic. But I suffer from so much more I don’t think there is a name yet. I do like that my Doctor has started calling it “Remission” instead of “Sober”. Takes some of the pressure off and reminds me, like a lot of health problems, it can reoccur.

2.4% of today’s workforce have been diagnosed with both mental health and addiction issues.

More than 50% of those living with a dual diagnosis did not receive any medical treatment or psychological help.

20% of people with a mental illness also has an addiction problem but Chief of The Center for Addiction and Mental Health says that’s a conservative number.

When it comes to getting care, the problem is most Providers are trained in one area and not the other. Not realizing that an addiction treatment could interact negatively with a treatment for mental health symptoms.

Organizations that are meant to support people suffering from either addiction or mental illness, not run by a medically trained staff, can also do damage.

Some addiction support groups disagree on the use of medications. Some groups only have a problem with some meds, others any medications that alter your feelings or state of mind. Example: Antipsychotics, Antianxiety, and Antidepressants. They see these meds as a crutch to the addict getting well. In fact without some of these medications addicts often relapse and do so worse than before.

As a side note: Governor Chris Christie signed a Bill in 2013 to expand the State’s production of hard liquor. Distillers would of course have to pay a $938 licensing fee. Researchers have recently recognized ALCOHOL if anything was to be a “gateway” if they had to name one thing.

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