“Giraffe whisperer” – these are the words used by noted Northern Irish singer and songwriter Gary Lightbody to describe himself on his Twitter handle @garysnowpatrol. However, he doesn’t just whisper when it comes to opening up about his own problem. He speaks up. Even if it’s about his addiction or mental health, which are often stigmatized.
Gary talked about his alcohol addiction and prolonged depression recently. With the disclosure, the lead singer of the alternative rock band Snow Patrol has joined the list of celebrities who have come forward to discuss their uncontrollable drinking habits and mental health problems. He divulged how his twin disorders, commonly referred to as dual diagnosis or co-occurring disorders, delayed the making of his seventh studio album Wildness due to be released on May 25, 2018.
The singer admitted that he had continued to drink consistently post the release of his previous album Fallen Empires in 2011. In a recent BBC Radio 2 interview, he said, “It’s not something that’s every day. It comes and goes, and if I’m busy I’m not in that place. But I’ve had a lot of time. It took seven years to make the album so you can do the math yourself. There was a lot of time that was spent on my own and in that time you just fall down that hole.”
However, the 41-year-old realized how his dual problems of drinking and depression had left him sinking. His decision to reach out to friends and loved ones helped him get out of this crisis. In addition, seeking professional advice from therapists, practicing meditation and a strong support system helped him recover completely. “The only thing that worked for me in the end was reaching out to people, plenty of people reached out to me to try and find me in my darkness. It means a lot to me now, but at the time I felt hurried, I wanted to stay in the place I was in,” he said.
The star explained how his depression started when he was a kid that, coupled with his father’s dementia, formed the basis of his upcoming album. Following his convalescence from both addiction and depression, the singer is now able to express himself with much clarity and hope.
Tackling the double whammy
Co-occurring mental and substance use disorders is quite common in the U.S. Experts say that either can happen first. Generally, individuals experiencing a mental illness may resort to alcohol or other addictive substances as self-medication to mitigate the symptoms. However, studies show that alcohol or any other drug also aggravate the symptoms and bring the psychiatric problem to the fore. According to the 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), roughly 2.6 million adult Americans suffered from a comorbidity of serious mental illness (SMI) and substance use disorders (SUDs) during the year.
Treating simultaneous problems of addiction and depression can be difficult if not dealt with simultaneously. The fact that symptoms of both addiction and mental disorder overlap makes it more difficult to diagnose the real problem and treat it accordingly. More concerning is the patients’ non-acceptance of their disorders, which further impedes the scope of proper treatment.
Sovereign Health of Florida, one of the leading dual diagnosis treatment facilities in the U.S., makes available customized and evidence-based treatment options to its patients. Our world-class dual diagnosis rehab centers provide holistic treatment to those seeking complete riddance of their problems of addiction and behavioral problem. For more information on our unparalleled dual diagnosis treatment program, you may call our 24/7 helpline or chat with our online representative.
Sovereign Health Group is a leading addiction, dual diagnosis and mental health treatment provider. Call our admissions team 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to get the help you deserve.