Thomas Kinkade, well known painter and art lover, passed away April 6, 2012, but the cause of his death was not known until recently. According to the autopsy report and the Santa Clara County medical examiner the cause of death was substance abuse related and ruled an accidental overdose. Family members of Kinkade say that he battled with alcohol addiction and had some problems in the last few years with personal and financial issues. The painters brother has spoken out about the alcohol addiction and the relapse that Kinkade suffered. According to the medical examiner the cause of death was a combination of Valium, which is a prescription tranquilizer, and alcohol. The medical examiner has ruled that the overdose was accidental and not intentionally caused by the painter.
Alcohol addiction and substance abuse killed Thomas Kinkade the same way that this combination kills many other Americans each year. Many drugs and medications react with alcohol consumption by becoming stronger in the body. This is true with over the counter medications, prescription medications, and even street drugs. Thomas Kinkade was a genius at painting according to art experts but the man battled substance abuse and alcohol addiction for years. His senseless death could have been prevented if effective treatment for alcohol addiction and substance abuse was received earlier in his life. Kinkade described himself as a Painter of Light and his works are in high demand. The personal life of the man was unfortunately not as optimistic and bright as his paintings were though. There is even a restraining order in place that prevents a former girlfriend from discussing Kinkade or his activities in public.
Mothers Day is a day to celebrate motherhood but many mothers spend this day in prison because of substance abuse. Some of these women committed crimes like theft or fraud to get drugs while others are in prison because of selling and using narcotics. Substance abuse often leads to impaired driving, and some women have seriously injured or killed others because of alcohol or drug use. The Sunday that is Mothers Day each year finds these women behind bars, visiting their children through plexiglass and using a telephone. On this day female correctional facilities around the country are filled with children of all ages anxious to visit with their mother. Many of these women never received substance abuse treatment, and most have spent a good portion of their lives addicted to one substance or another.
Many women who end up behind bars would have benefited greatly from early substance abuse treatment. An addiction to alcohol or drugs cause many individuals to go to prison every year, and a large percentage of these individuals are women who are wives, mothers, and even grandmothers. The substance abuse that led to the incarceration victimizes the children and grandchildren of the inmate as well as destroying the health and happiness of the individual in prison. Mothers Day is a day when mothers and children should be together. For many women in America this is not possible though because of substance abuse and addiction. The outcome in each case may have been different if substance abuse treatment had been provided before the inmate reached the current situation. The stigma that goes with admitting there is a problem needs to be eliminated and a bigger effort should be made to provide treatment to everyone who needs it.
May is Mental Health Month, and whenever mental health is considered the link between this subject and substance abuse is undeniable. Some individuals start with substance abuse and over time mental illness starts due to the drug or alcohol use. With others the mental disorder occurs first and the substance abuse is started to control the symptoms that appear. If both substance abuse and a mental disorder occur together then the individual will require specialized rehab treatment and a dual diagnosis. The first diagnosis is substance abuse, and then the second diagnosis will be the mental disorder that is present. This underlying mental disorder may be difficult to diagnose until after the substance abuse is stopped because symptoms could be caused by the drug or alcohol use instead of the mental illness.
During May awareness of mental health is a big topic. This is the perfect opportunity to bring up substance abuse as well because the two topics are connected. Mental health is a subject that needs increased awareness, and this topic should not be one that people are embarrassed or ashamed to talk about. Mental disorders and substance abuse will both affect millions of Americans this year alone. Using May as a springboard to get discussions started about mental health, substance abuse, and treatment options for both conditions can help reverse the trend and improve awareness across the country. Too many people do not understand the causes of poor mental health or substance abuse and this needs to be corrected so that both these conditions can be treated effectively and lose the social stigma attached.
Mental health issues and substance abuse are closely linked, and in some cases it may be difficult to tell which condition was caused by the other. As substance abuse increases one of the effects can be deteriorating mental health. On the other hand individuals who suffer from mental illness often turn to substance abuse to minimize problematic symptoms and blot out the effects of the mental illness. If both mental illness and substance abuse are present then this requires a dual diagnosis and can be much more difficult to treat then either condition alone. The substance abuse must be stopped so that the medical professional can determine exactly what mental illness symptoms are present, and which symptoms are actually caused by substance abuse. Until this step is complete then the mental illness can not be accurately diagnosed.
The link between mental disorders and substance abuse have been scientifically and medically proven. Anyone who has both issues will require specialized treatment that can resolve both conditions with the same program. Some mental illness may require proper medication. When the medication is taken as directed and the mental illness subsides then the individual no longer needs to drink or take illegal street drugs. Counseling in a variety of types can help during the substance abuse rehab process. Spiritual, group, and individual sessions will help individuals deal with any causes of substance abuse that are not mental illness related. Proper diagnosis and treatment will eliminate any symptoms from a mental disorder that cause substance abuse to start. Treating both conditions at the same time is essential for a permanent recovery from substance abuse and ideal mental health.
Substance abuse is a big concern in America, and heroin is a drug that has caused devastation in all 50 states. Ironically Afghanistan is a significant source of heroin and opium farming is a common practice. The Taliban control the heroin markets in many regions and the USA has tried to eliminate opium farming with little results. This in spite of the fact that Afghanistan received around $14 billion dollars of taxpayer money from the United States in 2010 alone. 90% of the heroin used around the world originates in Afghanistan and yet even American forces in this country can not stop this drug from being produced. This has resulted in many calling for the Afghanistan farmers to be compensated and morphine to be produced from the opium poppies farmed instead of these flowers being used to make heroin.
Heroin use across the globe has skyrocketed, and a lack of substance abuse treatment facilities have left many individuals with nowhere to turn. In the Middle East many women are addicted to heroin produced in the region and help is not an option because the men refuse to allow the women to leave home or go to a clinic. In the USA and Canada there are treatment options but many rehab facilities have a long waiting list unless a luxury rehab can be afforded. Heroin addiction is a big problem and will continue to get worse unless effective treatment for this substance abuse is received. With heroin medical treatment is frequently needed during detox because the withdrawals are extremely strong and unpleasant, and in some cases death can result if medical intervention is not performed.