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Alcoholism is often treated separately from matters of mental health such as depression and anxiety. A recent article in The Guardian highlights the importance of a holistic view on the treatment of mental distress and drinking. For anyone in the Westside Cleveland area who is battling alcohol abuse, please contact us for an appointment today.

We often think of drug and alcohol misuse as a discrete problem: something to be solved on its own. But a new report, which found that one in 10 hospital inpatients are alcohol-dependent and one in five are doing themselves harm through drinking, puts paid to this myth entirely. In fact, comorbidity is significant. Chronic pain, cancer and heart disease have all been linked with substance misuse; there is also a strong crossover in those with mental illnesses.

I know this first hand. Last year, during a particularly bad breakdown, I was enrolled in a harm reduction programme run by a local social enterprise. My keyworker there was amazing – empathetic, funny, kind, often stern. But nothing was joined up. At the time, I was also regularly seeing the crisis team at my local mental health trust, and although they knew about my problems with alcohol and my involvement with the social enterprise, there was very little effort to understand how they interacted with my mental health problems, or indeed an understanding that the root cause of both might be the same.

I was even told that before I could be referred for further treatment within the NHS my alcohol problems had to be dealt with – understandable, considering how stretched services were and still are. But it seemed to miss the point entirely.

The reasons I was drinking so much were the same reasons I had also self-harmed; in its own way it was self-harm. But in treatment it was separated off in a neat little box: even with a dual diagnosis that included alcohol use disorder, there was a complete failure to treat my problems holistically. In reality, there was no way my drinking could be separated from my mental health problems – they were one and the same thing.

To continue reading this article on The Guardian, click here.

To schedule an appointment at the Center for Effective Living, click here.