Mental Health and Addictions

Addiction is the term most most people use when they talk about substance use as a problem.

Britain's National Health Services defines addiction as "not having control over doing, taking, or using something, to the point where it could be harmful to you. Addiction is most commonly associated with gambling, drugs, alcohol and nicotine, but it is possible to be addicted to anything."

People become addicted for many different reasons and this may include the initial pleasurable feelings associated with taking a substance. As a person's reliance on the substance increases, they are unable to get through the day without it and require larger amounts to get the same feelings of pleasure. Here, we explore some of the issues around addiction.

Capital Health’s Addiction and Mental Health Program is taking major steps to improve care for individuals living with concurrent disorders.

Concurrent disorder describes a condition in which a person has both a mental illness and is experiencing harmful involvement with alcohol, other drugs and/or gambling.

The numbers are startling:

  • Every 11 minutes, a Canadian dies of a tobacco-related illness
  • Tobacco is the number one cause of preventable disease and disability in Canada
  • Tobacco-related illness costs the health care system $171 million every year
  •  85 per cent of lung cancers are caused by smoking
  • 30 per cent of all types of cancer are caused by smoking
  • Approximately 200 Nova Scotians die every year as a result of exposure to second-hand tobacco smoke

Fifteen years ago, 24 per cent of youth ages 15-19, and six per cent of youth ages 10-14, used tobacco products.

A new stop smoking program - designed specifically for individuals living with mental illness - offers support and hope.