On June 11, a New York Times article, “An Anxious Nation,” chronicled how our society has seemingly become one where the diagnosis of anxiety now rivals that of depression. Poignantly the article suggests that, “Anxiety is starting to seem like a sociological condition, too: a shared cultural experience that feeds on alarmist CNN graphics and metastasizes through social media.”
For mental health professionals who often find their hands tied when coming up against bureaucratic red-tape, an overhaul of the health care system has been long overdue. However, cuts in funding, inferior benefits for mental health and addiction treatments, higher premiums, and lack of protection for those with pre-existing conditions including mental illnesses are not quite the changes we had in mind.
The U.S. is in the midst of an opioid addiction crisis that the CDC and other public health organizations have deemed an epidemic. Between 1999-2015, more than 180,000 people died from opioid overdoses.
The U.S. is on pace for 50,000-plus overdose deaths this year, as we saw in 2016, and 88,000 deaths from alcohol misuse. There is no indication that the federal government will follow through on past initiatives to stem the opioid abuse epidemic. Plans to cut Medicaid and repeal the Affordable Care Act could decimate treatment opportunities for those most in need.
“Dad stop! Everyone drinks!” Thus spoke your tenth grader as you found vodka in her closet. As a parent, should you calm down, or be alarmed? Be concerned, if not alarmed, according to new research. In a study of teens from high achieving schools, we found troubling rates of addiction as we followed them across young adulthood. Our kids are not alright.