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Are you Self Medicating? The Undiagnosed Epidemic of Mental Illness and Alcohol Abuse


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Mental illness is one of the leading ailments in this country for which people need medical help, but it is often not considered a sickness in the same way physical ailments are. This can easily be exacerbated by drug and alcohol use, alcohol being the biggest problem drug in the US. It is estimated that 10 percent of children may be living with at least one parent with alcohol abuse problems, and close to half of Americans claim to have one or more relative who abuses alcohol. People at highest risk for developing a dependency on alcohol include college students, and young adults up to the age of 29. AA rehab centers can be helpful, but a family practice physician can also help in taking the first steps toward recovery.

Undiagnosed depression and anxiety are major causes of drug and alcohol abuse and a shocking 80 percent of people with depression do not seek help. Seeking help from friends and family or finding a doctor and/or treatment that will help can be overwhelming. Even more common than depression, anxiety is a sickness that effects 18 percent of adults in America, which is 40 million people.

Children are more likely to develop ADHD, which can cause learning difficulties, but adults can also get ADHD, coupled with insomnia. Since 2011,6.4 million children have been diagnosed with ADHD, boys almost twice as much as girls.

Even though marijuana is a drug, medical marijuana is being used more frequently to treat mental disorders as well as chronic pain and certain physical ailments. Depending on the state laws, medical marijuana doctors can prescribe a card that allows the holder to access the medication from certain dispensaries. The benefit of this drug is still largely up for debate, but several states have completely legalized marijuana, some have legalized it for medical use, and many have at least decriminalized, meaning people caught with it will not face jail time.

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