Summer Sale Extended! Get unlimited digital access for 13 weeks for $13.
Readers Respond
News Opinion Readers Respond

Addicts, like mental patients, often don't realize they are ill [Letter]

In response to the recent commentary by Drs. John J. Boronow and Steven S. Sharfstein on mental patients who do not realize they are ill, I would also like to point out that this same scenario is evident in substance use disorders ("Close the mental health revolving door," Dec. 29).

Alcohol use has been most clearly shown to increase aggression. Amphetamines, cocaine, LSD and PCP use may also precipitate violence in certain individuals.

The use of alcohol has also been linked to fatal injuries. A recent study by University of Maryland professor Gordon Smith and his colleagues found that alcohol is a significant factor in many fatal non-traffic injuries and that its importance varies by cause of injury. Alcohol was a major contributing factor in 32 percent of all homicide cases, 31 percent of unintentional injury deaths and 23 percent of suicide. Yet almost all the individuals involved are certain that nothing is wrong with them.

A percentage of these patients are still being treated in an outpatient setting when they need longer-term residential treatment. But unfortunately, this type of treatment is not covered by many insurance programs, including Medicaid.

Addicts often fake suicide attempts to get into psychiatric hospitals, where they hope to get the help they need. But they are discharged within three days when they are found not to have a mental illness.

The costs of this revolving door are huge as well. Nor can we overlook those who not only have a mental illness but also have a co-occurring substance abuse disorder as well as co-morbid conditions such as HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, etc.

Legislation must cover not only those with mental illnesses but also those with substance abuse disorders.

Patricia Bayly Miedusiewski, Monkon

-
To respond to this letter, send an email to talkback@baltimoresun.com. Please include your name and contact information.

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun
Related Content
  • Outpatient treatment needed for the mentally ill [Letter]

    Psychiatrists Steven S. Sharfstein and John J. Boronow recently noted that Maryland does not have an assisted outpatient treatment program for people with serious mental illness ("Close the mental health revolving door," Dec. 29).

  • Managing mental illness [Letter]

    Regarding John J. Boronow and Steven S. Sharfstein's recent commentary on mental illness, I said the same thing, albeit more bluntly and without a clinical diagnosis, in a 2007 unpublished letter to the editor ("Close the mental health revolving door," Dec. 29).

  • Close the mental health revolving door [Commentary]

    Close the mental health revolving door [Commentary]

    A state law allowing doctors to keep patients under court-ordered treatment after release into the community would save lives

  • Untreated mental illness hurts everyone [Letter]

    Thanks to Steven S. Sharfstein and John J. Boronow for their insightful article on treating mental illness and for helping to educate those fortunate enough not to know about such matters ("Closing the mental health revolving door," Dec. 29).

  • Involuntary commitment for mental health patients is a scam [Letter]

    Regarding John J. Boronow and Steven S. Sharfstein recent commentary, comparing every unwilling patient to the alleged 18-year-old who thinks she can fly is ridiculous ("Close the mental health revolving door, Dec. 29).

  • CMS wrong to restrict prostheses

    CMS wrong to restrict prostheses

    As a former U.S. Army physical therapist stationed at Walter Reed General Hospital from 1967 to1969 who treated returning soldiers from Vietnam, many of whom lost limbs, I am appalled at the proposal on the table to limit prosthetic services to Medicare patients ("Amputee groups fight limits on...

  • U.S. not alone in birthright citizenship

    U.S. not alone in birthright citizenship

    The local front man for anti-immigrant hysteria thinks it is time to change the 14th Amendment and myriad Supreme Court precedents to exclude children of non-citizens born in the United States from birthright citizenship ("Illegal immigration is costly," Aug. 24). He neglects to mention that the...

  • How will Trump get lazy people to work?

    How will Trump get lazy people to work?

    The aspiring Donald Trump says he's going to make America great again — jobs, education, health care, trade, etc. These all may be possible, except how will he put someone back to work who has been on the government dole for the past two or three generations ("Trump's entertainment value," Aug....

Comments
Loading
77°