Have you ever heard of something called a Co-Occurring disorder?
Your life….. or the life of someone you love could depend on it.
Harris Marquesano was a high school soccer star, but like so many others throughout the country, by 19 years ofl age… he was the victim of a fatal accidental overdose.
Harris dealt with an anxiety disorder as a child. He turned to marijuana….and later to prescription medications.
Co-Occurring Disorders. The dangers and threats of self-medicating with drugs and alcohol for those with underlying mental health conditions.
His mother….a very courageous woman Stephanie Marquesano, has since started the “Harris Project.”
((Audio clip #43 . Timecode :05 or 1:26 )) Harris Marquesano was a high school soccer star… like so many others throughout the country..By 19… he was the victim of a fatal accidental overdose.
Harris dealt with an anxiety disorder as a child. he turned to marijuana….and later to prescription medications.
co-occurring disorders. The dangers and threats of self-medicating with drugs and alcohol for those with underlying mental health conditions. This is his mother….a very courageous woman Stephanie Marquesano. This is what she told Dominic below.
Not one professional that we saw… when Harris was young, ever said, Good looking, popular social, athletic kid like you but so much anxiety. you better be really careful around substances. That can be a spiral, you go down really quickly. He later picked up the ADHD diagnosis, went on medication for the first time, went back to playing sports in high school. Really, you know, his life had begun to get back on a really great traditional track. And then 11th grade came stress and pressure – Stephanie Marquesano
When that 11th grade bump in the road came, the SAT’s and all of that pressure, he went to a party in my town, and prescription pills were available. And that’s when I could say for our family…… the game was over. Within a year and a half before he died, he was in four substance use inpatient programs… to substance use outpatient programs. Each program saying Harris has this thing called co-occurring disorder, mental health challenges and substance misuse and addiction,,,,, and we treat it but not one of those programs ever got to the mental health piece – Stephanie Marquesano
Then Dominic Carter asked Mrs. Marquesano this question.
What I’m thinking about …..Harris is from an affluent family and an affluent community, he starts using drugs, but there’s a separate mental health component going on. And by 19, you’ve got to bury your son? Journalist Dominic Carter
That’s it. So if I knew then what I know now, I believe that my son would be here. -Stephanie Marquesano
But Stephanie Maquesano decided to fight back. She founded the Harris Project, an organization to help people with co-occurring disorders.
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, (SAMHSA) the term Co-Occurring disorders (COD) refers to a diagnosis of one or more mental health disorders plus substance (drug and/or alcohol) misuse and/or addiction. COD involves two diagnostic areas: mental health and substance misuse and/or addiction (as well as the impact of trauma, traumatic brain injury, etc.). Mental health disorders commonly associated with COD include:
-Mood disorders like depression or bipolar disorder
-Anxiety disorders like generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety, panic disorder
-Post-traumatic stress disorder, oppositional defiance disorder
Here is some information from (SAMHSA)
988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline
If you or someone you know is struggling or in crisis, help is available.
You’ll be able to speak with a trained crisis counselor any time of day or night.
This Helpline provides 24-hour free and confidential help. You can get treatment referrals and information about mental health and drug or alcohol use disorders, prevention, and recovery in English and Spanish.
- Call: 1-800-662-4357
This heartbreaking story is told to Journalist Dominic Carter.