Substance Abuse & Mental Health

Substance Abuse & Mental Health

This piece was authored by Lisa Hoffman, LMHC, LCAC, and Program Director at our Center for Women & Children.

Reflecting on concerns of substance abuse and mental health…

A senior guest has a combination referred to as a “dual diagnosis.” The sad thing about this is that once you are labeled with either – a substance abuse or mental health diagnosis – then it seems all your symptoms must be attributed to that labeling.

“Well, I see here the she has been diagnosed with alcohol dependence,” said the emergency personnel. While the observation is true and perhaps necessary, it wasn’t significant to the case at hand. This individual was returned to the CWC on two separate occasions with no real answers to her serious concerns and symptoms. Finally, the third time, it was determined that this woman had a mild stroke and an aneurysm.

More than her diagnoses

It’s sad to me that something so significant could have been missed because her symptoms may have been attributed to substance abuse or mental illness. Thankfully, this woman wasn’t homeless on the streets of Indianapolis, with no advocates to stand in the gap on her behalf. Instead, she was in residential programming at Wheeler Mission, where the change in her presentation was evident because she had a name and was known and loved by those around her.  She wasn’t a set of diagnoses, but a child of God in need of intervention. Praise God that she was able to get the care she needed. She’s back on her journey toward wellness, and is learning who she is and Whose she is… through the help of Wheeler Mission.