Those living with mental disorders often find catharsis in substance abuse

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that 25 percent of U.S. adults have a mental illness and 54 million experience some form of a mental disorder in a given year.

There are more than 200 classified forms of mental illness. Common disorders include depression, bipolar disorder, dementia, schizophrenia and anxiety .

“The spectrum of mental health really affects a wide swath of the population … and can be quite debilitating,” said Dr. Jeffery Talbot, director of the Research Center on Substance Abuse and Depression at the Roseman University of Health Sciences. “Over the last 30 years, there’s been an increase in the types of mental health illness that we now consider the norm. If you take depression, the National (Institutes) of Health estimates that one in five or one in six Americans will experience a clinically significant depressive illness at some point in their lifetime. That’s a big number, and that’s just one (illness). When you roll in anxiety and other disorders like ADHD (attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder) and PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), many of them are comorbid (presenting simultaneously), so you’re approaching a significant number of individuals.”

Due to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, specific numbers are not available, but according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and the 2011-12 studies by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, serious mental illness in the past year among people 18 or older affected 3.95 percent of Nevada’s population. Nationally, the rate was 4.0 percent, or 9.3 million people.

When it comes to a mental illness of any kind, the Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality and the 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health show 16.05 percent of Nevada’s population is affected.

Those with mental health issues often find temporary relief in drug use, so treatment centers see many people affected by both. A case in point is Katie, 24, who did not want to use her last name. Katie’s life started out with traumatic events. As a toddler, her meth-addicted parents left her clinging to an inadequate floatie on the waves of a Hawaiian beach while they were preoccupied.

“My brother — he’s eight years older than me — said that was the day he learned to swim, trying to keep me afloat,” she said.

A couple of years later, her father threatened suicide and dangled her off a high bridge, saying he’d take her with him. Her mother and the police talked him out of it, but the damage to Katie was done. She has a recurring dream of falling from a great height.

After her mother divorced and brought her to Las Vegas, Katie was diagnosed with ADHD and prescribed Adderall. She later graduated to downers — Percocet and Lortab.

Katie idolized her father’s lifestyle from afar, wanting to join his gang and seeing herself as a glamorous character in the movie “Casino.” She said she smoked pot and drank to feel cool. By 17, she tried meth. By 18, she was hooked on heroin.

“It boosted my ego; I rocked it,” she said. “I felt like, ‘No one can keep up with me. God couldn’t keep up with me.’ ”

Panhandling at gas stations paid for her habit. She said she made as much as $120 a day.

Then one day, one of her friends died from heroin. Depression set in. The law caught up with her, and Katie went into a drug program through Youth Offender Court for those 18 to 26, run by Judge Cedric Kerns. Even then, she’d sabotage herself, she said, doing drugs but drying out a couple of days before the weekly mandatory drug test.

Katie is now getting counseling for her mental health issues and her drug addiction. She said she wants a normal life and hopes a “higher power will get me there.”

There are many Katies out there. How does the party-town atmosphere of Las Vegas figure into the equation?

“That plays a huge role,” said Patrick Bozarth, ‎executive director of the ‎Community Counseling Center of Southern Nevada, 714 E. Sahara Ave. “I think with Las Vegas, in particular — because of the draw of Las Vegas, the nightlife, the ‘party hardy’ lifestyle — we have a big problem with substance abuse here. The majority of clients that we serve here at the Community Counseling Center, more than three-quarters of them have a substance abuse diagnosis.”

If you or someone you know is struggling with a mental disorder and is in crisis now, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 800-273-8255.

For more information on the Community Counseling Center of Southern Nevada, call 702-369-8700 or visit

To reach Summerlin Area View reporter Jan Hogan, email or call 702-387-2949.

Downtown Summerlin hosts its annual Festival of Arts
People crowd to Downtown Summerlin for the 23rd annual Summerlin Festival of Arts in Las Vegas, Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018. (Caroline Brehman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Clark County educators debate alternative grading systems
Spring Valley High School principal Tam Larnerd, Spring Valley High School IB coordinator Tony Gebbia and retired high school teacher Joyce O'Day discuss alternative grading systems. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Grandparents on the fire that killed three family members
Charles and Doris Smith talk about the night an apartment fire took the lives of three of their family members. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
New York artist Bobby Jacobs donated a sculpture to the Las Vegas Healing Garden
Bobby Jacobs, an artist from upstate New York, has spent much of the past year creating a sculpture of two separate angel wings. He donated the sculpture to the Las Vegas Healing Garden. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Weather will cool slightly through the end of the week
The weather will cool slightly through the end of the week., but highs are still expected to be slightly above normal for this year. (Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @bizutesfaye
Mayor announces new public-private partnership
Mayor Carolyn Goodman announced the creation of the Mayor’s Fund for Las Vegas LIFE, a public-private partnership that will allocate money to the city’s neediest.
Fremont9 opens downtown
Fremont9 apartment complex has opened in downtown Las Vegas. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Fall fairytale gets cozy at Bellagio Conservatory
Bellagio Conservatory introduces its fall-themed garden titled "Falling Asleep." (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
What the house that Ted Binion died in looks like today
Casino heir Ted Binion died in this Las Vegas home in 1998. Current home owner Jane Popple spent over $600,000 to restore and modernize the home. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Rescue Mission employees terminated
Don James, a former employee for the Las Vegas Rescue Mission, talks about the day his team was terminated. (Erik Verduzco/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Raiders Cupcakes at Freed's Bakery
Freed's Bakery will have Raiders-themed cupcakes available in store and for order during football season. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
51s fans say goodbye to Cashman Field
Las Vegas 51s fans said goodbye to Cashman Field in Las Vegas, Monday September, 3, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
51s owner Don Logan's last weekend at Cashman Field
Don Logan, owner of the Las Vegas 51s, gives a tour of Cashman Field before the team's final weekend using the field. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Metro Asst. Sheriff Brett Zimmerman on Aug. 8 officer-involved shooting
Metropolitan Police Department Assistant Sheriff Brett Zimmerman met with media Monday to discuss the details of the 14th officer-involved shooting of the year. (Madelyn Reese/ Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Matt Kelly Elementary School hosted its third annual Back-to-School Red Carpet Program
Matt Kelly Elementary School hosted its third annual Back-to-School Red Carpet Program where community and business leaders joined to welcome students back with an inspirational welcome. Bizuayehu Tesfaye/Las Vegas Review-Journal @bizutesfaye
Star Trek fans on show’s enduring popularity
Star Trek fans at the Star Trek Convention 2018 talk about why they think the show has stayed popular across the years Thursday, August 2, 2018. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
Celebrity photographer dedicates dance book to Las Vegas shooting victims
Behind the scenes with local celebrity photographer Jerry Metellus as he talks about his Dance For Vegas coffee book dedicated to the 58 victims of the October 1 shooting. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @marcusvillagran
Dreamsickle Kids Foundation founder Gina Glass talks awareness
Gina Glass, 35, founded Dreamsickle Kids Foundation to raise awareness for sickle cell disease in Nevada. (Jessie Bekker/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The Meadows School founding kindergarten teacher retires after 34 years at the school
Linda Verbon, founder of the The Meadows School's kindergarten program and the first faculty member hired at the school, retired in the spring after 34 years at The Meadows. (K.M. Cannon/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Kids become firefighters at Fire Station 98 open house
Henderson residents wore fire hats, learned about CPR and met firefighters at the Fire Station 98 open house Saturday, August 11, 2018. (Marcus Villagran Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
People from all over the world attend RollerCon 2018
RollerCon 2018 is a five-day convention focused on the roller derby community and culture at Westgate in Las Vegas. (Marcus Villagran/Las Vegas Review-Journal) @brokejournalist
News Headlines
Add Event
Home Front Page Footer Listing
You May Like

You May Like