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Hollywood actress Margot Kidder struggled with dual diagnosis
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Hollywood actress Margot Kidder struggled with dual diagnosis

Hollywood actress Margot Kidder, who rose to fame for her role as Lois Lane in the Superman film series, died on May 13, 2018, at the age of 69. Although the cause of her death is unknown, she often made it to the headlines for her substance abuse and long-standing battles with bipolar disorder.

Despite being a successful actress of the late 1960s and 1970s, Kidder struggled with some mental problems that left her helpless and homeless. In 1996 when she was reported missing for three days, police forcibly sent a badly bruised and shabbily dressed Kidder in handcuffs to a medical center. In fact, a 1990 car accident while shooting for the TV series Nancy Drew and Daughter was the starting point for all the turmoil in her life. The resulting injuries had paralyzed her partially and pushed her on the verge of committing suicide. However, thanks to a surgery to remove a herniated disk, she could walk again but with immense pain. Following her accident, Kidder suffered heavy financial losses, which forced her to sell her jewelry and New York home, and she eventually declared bankruptcy in 1992.

Kidder, who was first diagnosed with bipolar disorder in 1988, had admitted that episodes of maniac depression were the root cause of most of her problems. Though she was prescribed lithium by a Los Angeles psychiatrist, she never paid heed to the recommended treatment. “It’s very hard to convince a manic person that there is anything wrong with them,” Kidder had said. Amid her financial struggles and failing mental health, she took to alcohol and started abusing prescription pills as a coping mechanism. “Better drunk than crazy,” was what Kidder said to her friends and fans.

Sadly, despite the havoc wreaked by mood swings on her life, she took pride in her condition by citing the example of famous English poet Lord Byron who faced a similar mental condition. Though Kidder sought treatment, she often had her own way instead of the recommendations made by doctors. She explored acupuncture and anti-seizure medicines, but all her efforts showed little success. Kidder is survived by her daughter Maggie McGuane.

Kidder was not the only person battling comorbidity. According to the 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), more than 8 million people aged 18 and above in the U.S. had suffered from both any mental illness (AMI) and substance use disorders (SUDs) in the past year. Besides, an estimated 2.6 million adults had co-existing serious mental illness (SMI) and SUDs in the past year. Dual diagnosis is a broad category in which a person suffers from both a substance abuse problem and a mental issue.

Dual diagnosis is treatable

Health care professionals say substance use disorders and mental health problems more often go hand in hand, with women being more vulnerable to dual diagnosis compared to men. Studies show unaddressed co-occurring disorders can aggravate a woman’s negative self-perception, trigger emotional instability, and destroy relationships. The dual conditions may appear very distinct on the surface, but in reality they feed on one another, leaving afflicted individuals clueless of what is happening.

Therefore, a meticulous evaluation of both the conditions is needed to determine the existence of dual diagnosis because the symptoms of one disorder can mimic the other. If you or your loved one is suffering from dual diagnosis, it is imperative to take necessary medical help before matters go out of control. Sovereign Health offers a variety of customized women’s dual diagnosis treatment options at its residential treatment centers to treat a person holistically. Our treatment programs are specifically designed to help female patients battling co-existing disorders recover through integrated interventions after a thorough examination of the underlying health conditions. For more information on our world-class women’s dual diagnosis treatment centers, call our 24/7 helpline or chat online with our counselor.

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