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Addiction and Mental Illness is a Public Health Crisis

Let me first introduce myself, my name Matthew Taylor proud owner of TaylorMade Counseling & Consulting. Also, I am your Addiction and Mental Health Rehabilitation Therapist. I am so excited to be a new contributor and writer for this great publication, The Valley Business Journal.

Overdose is now the #1 cause of accidental death in the United States, recently surpassing car accidents. Every four minutes a parent loses a child to addiction, and the rising cost of addiction now exceeds $400 billion a year.

Research shows that the stigma of addiction keeps people from getting the treatment needed and my goal is to help change that narrative. This is a fact 1 in 3 families are impacted by substance use disorder but only 1 in 10 ever seek treatment, while we are looking at numbers let me share one more number with you, well a little more than one more number. It is estimated to cost businesses more than $193 million annually due to employee substance use.

Not very long ago addiction was considered a moral affliction. Addicts were seen as bad people, devoted to the pursuit of pleasure and self-gratification, rather than individuals suffering from a mental and physical affliction. After years of research, we now have a more enlightened understanding of addiction with the current model revealing that addiction is a chronic, progressive disease of the brain.

In fact, addiction is sometimes alternately referred to as a substance use disorder, which prompts comparisons to conditions like Alzheimer’s disease or dementia as frequently as illnesses like diabetes.

In my opinion Addiction and Mental Illness are siblings just with their own different personalities. In terms of psychological symptoms, individuals who have developed addictions have a dramatically disrupted hierarchy of needs, suggested by their tendency to act against their own self-interests. This is illustrated by the habitual substance abuse behavior in spite of the numerous consequences, including a decline in overall physical health and potential legal repercussions. As such, addicts become incapable of controlling their impulses, which is also a symptom of many other mental illnesses.

Ok, it was not a mistake that I launched my new company here in Wildomar, Californi,  but I have one request of you: please help to make a difference in our communities.

Matthew Taylor, AODC, MHRT, CCFP