The popular Southeast Asian botanical Kratom may be part of the solution to America’s opioid and mental health epidemics, or it may be part of the problem.
Joe (not his real name) was a veteran and heroin addict in his mid-30s. He presented to the emergency room with a deadly blood infection. So weak that he could barely walk, Joe ended up in the intensive care unit in a major hospital. Heroin followed him there, with drug dealers delivering to him in his room. Slowly he improved. He is off heroin. Today, Joe is in rehabilitation, gaining strength and trying to put his life back together.
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Mental health is more than medications, therapies, counseling, patients, and doctors. It is about a milieu of family, friends, finances, faith, and a thousand other factors. Let’s look at them.
Years ago a friend of mine was abandoned by her husband. She and her sons have remained in the church but now the boys are out of the house and she is alone. A couple of months ago I saw her in the hall and greeted her with a big hug. Her eyes lit up – it had been a long time since she had been touched. The Beatle’s Eleanor Rigby is not just a song, but a statement of an exploding problem throughout the world – people are lonely. Doug Saunders captured this problem in his book Arrival City in which he remarked on “the silent isolation of the middle class.” He wrote of new immigrants “no longer would they hear every word and movement around them; no longer was the air constantly vibrating with the parry and banter of the entire community.” The only regular noise many people hear at home are the sounds of the television and the computer.
Continue reading “Mental Health – Context of Care and Recovery”