MENTAL HEALTH

Substance use problems are commonly seen in mental health.  Sometimes this is referred to as concurrent disorder, dual diagnosis, dual disorders, co-morbidity and co-occurring substance abuse disorders and mental disorders.  To encourage sensitivity to the stigmas associated to these terms, co- occurring mental health and substance abuse problems has been developed. Co-occurring mental health and substance abuse problems can be described as one or more mental health diagnosis along with abuse of one or more substance.

The relationship between substance use and mental health disorders are multifaceted.   As explained below:

  • Substance use may be causing the psychopathology (a substance- induced mental disorder).
  • Some  of  the  most  common  substance  induced  disorders  are  alcohol-induced  depressive disorders, cocaine-induced psychotic disorders and stimulant-induced anxiety disorders.
  • Substance use may be secondary to the psychopathology in various ways: Patients may use substances to self-medicate the symptoms of their mental disorder (for example, alcohol may be used to alleviate the symptoms of an anxiety disorder, such as social phobias).

Patients may use substances to enhance symptoms of the mental disorder (as in the use of stimulants by manic patients).

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About

Uganda Harm Reduction Network (UHRN) is a Community Based Organisation, established in 2011, Reg No. WCBO/1253/11, found by former drug users, to provide a national platform and reduce the health, social and economic harms associated with “drug use”. We further seek to develop an enabling environment for the implementation and expansion of human right interventions for Drug Users (IDUs, Sex Workers and Youth) in Uganda in partnerships with other stakeholders as we strive for victory. Vision: “A Ugandan society that reorganizes and protects the health, social, economic and human rights of drug users”. Mission: “To reduce the health, social and economic harms associated with drug use to develop an enabling environment for the implementation and expansion of human right interventions for drug users in Uganda. Objectives: We work to: • Promote access to cancer screening, psychosocial support and comprehensive care (HIV, SRHR, TB, and Hepatitis B and C treatment). • Organize and equip drug users whose rights have been violated to take responsibility of their health, social, economic wellbeing and sustainability through economic empowerment trainings and functional adult literacy programmes. • Document and expose human rights violations against drug users and call for legal protection and engage in policy reforms on laws that negatively impact on drug users. • Build partnership, synergy and develop the leadership capacity of drug users to take charge of their program. • Promote the health, social economic and human rights of “drug users” in Uganda irrespective of their social, economic, academic, cultural or political background. • Promote safer sex education such as condom use, needle and syringe exchange program, comprehensive care and mechanism on how to deal with issues of overdose, trafficking and violence against drug users. • Call for an enabling environment and strengthen partnerships towards “drug users”. Core values for UHRN: The driving forces that guide all actions and practices in UHRN are:- • Social justice, protection and recognition in society • Love and respect for one another. • Support and care for one another • Honesty in all our undertakings • Empathy for each other as drug users • Sharing the available resources.

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