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Addiction

Addiction is a disease. It can turn someone strong into a powerless human being. It can make someone a prisoner in their own body. "My name is Laura and I am an addict." That sentence took me three years to say out loud. I always will be an addict, but I am currently in recovery. Recovery never ends. I watched addiction in my...
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Until I was 16, I thought that my uncle had died of cancer rather than suicide. There was always a dark joke in the family that we have a history of mental illness in our lineage. There is the distant cousin who lived in a tiger cage because, well, he thought he was a tiger. My beloved older brother was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia when...
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Athlete Beats Addiction

August 10, 2015
In high school I was often sad. I’m not a doctor, but have heard that depression can be an early indicator of bipolar disorder. I was also the dreamy-look-out-the-window type of ADD. Mom always says I lacked the inner knowledge of the social pecking order. My impulsivity didn’t help win people over. I went the loner-stoner phase. At least the...
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Though problematic or compulsive internet use has been debated as far as validity and scope, it is not currently recognized as a psychiatric disorder.  However, a cautionary word from my Mom: “Anything in excess is a problem. Everything in moderation!” With that disclaimer in place, let me welcome you to my world of social media and internet...
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I woke up sad and nervous before drug treatment court this morning.  My friend, Cee, was going to be held today in county jail until a bed opened up at a nearby drug treatment facility: she kept failing drug screens and this was her consequence. It would be meted out at court, but she knew already. Everyone in our group knew. Cee said a...
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There has been an increased interest in the judicial system among advocates for people living with mental illness: Human Rights Watch shocked America with the truth. A 127-pageinvestigative report describes a criminal justice system in America and its use of excessive force, even systemically brutal and malicious. The report, ‘Callous and...
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Jeff Zacharias

In the LGBT community, the link between mental illness most notably bipolar disorder, trauma and addiction is undeniable. With heightened visibility comes the need to strengthen the clinical skills required to work alongside this stigmatized population. This workshop will address the mental health issues specific to the LGBT...
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Six weeks ago I relapsed from my addiction recovery and, subsequently, from my Bipolar Disorder recovery. The two are so intertwined that a distinction can barely be made by me or my mental health team. When I use substances I also quit taking my medications.  When I quit taking my medications I am more likely to use substances to control...
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Dual Diagnosis

December 9, 2014
“Population-based studies have documented that among all patients with major psychiatric disorders, those with bipolar disorder have the highest prevalence of comorbid substance abuse and dependence” (Tohen, et. al 1998, Pg. 133).My substance abuse came long before my diagnosis of Bipolar I.  As children living in fear of their Father, my...
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