3 Decades of Legislation and the Changing Views on Mental Health

3 Decades of Legislation and the Changing Views on Mental Health

There are now more laws in place to help you get treatment you need for mental illness and addiction to drugs

Mental health has come a very long way in a relatively short amount of time. Views on mental health and addiction to drugs like Xanax have completely changed. Before we talk about that transition of viewpoints, it is important to discuss addiction and a current definition of it. The National Institute of Drug Abuse states that addiction is a continuing disease in the brain that causes compulsive drug seeking and use despite the harmful. Addiction is complex because quitting takes more than good intentions or a strong will. In fact, because drugs like Xanax change the ways in how the brain controls obsessive drug abuse. This makes quitting altogether very challenging even when you are ready to stop using.

With this current definition of addiction, it is key for those who struggle with substance abuse to note that there are laws that exist to help protect you while you are in recovery. There are four main pieces of legislation that you can look to which show the transition of mindset. The following is a summary of each:

The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Act

This act relates to mental health and what insurance coverage is available for individuals. According to the United States Department of Labor, the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equality Act of 2008 (which is sometimes called MHPAEA) requires that health insurance issuers—as well as group health plans—have the same financial requirements for co-pays and/or deductibles and treatment limitations for mental health or substance use disorders are not any more restrictive any other medical or surgical benefits. If your insurance covers 80% of the costs for your medical care and you pay 20% out of pocket, the same coverage will apply to treatment for addiction or mental health care. Starting in 2014, with the Affordable Care Act, according to the , over 32.1 million Americans will gain access to coverage that includes mental health and/or substance use disorder benefits that comply with the federal parity requirements.

How do so many people not have this coverage when it is required by the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Act? While almost all large group plans and most small group plans include coverage for some variety of mental health and substance use disorder services, there are many times gaps in coverage, and many people with some coverage of these services do not currently receive the benefit of federal parity protections.

The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a wide-ranging civil rights law that prohibits discrimination based on disability primarily for employment opportunities. ADA disabilities include both mental and physical medical conditions. It is important to know that a condition does not need to be severe or permanent to be a disability. If you struggle from an anxiety disorder, you are protected. If you are prescribed Xanax as a form of treatment and then find yourself addicted, you are protected under this law as well. The Americans with Disabilities Act prohibits most employers from refusing to hire, firing or discriminating in the terms and conditions of employment against any qualified job applicant or employee on the basis of a disability. Keep in mind that the ADA applies to private employers with fifteen or more employees and to all state and local governments.

The Workforce Investment Act of 1998

The Workforce Investment Act (WIA) provides financial assistance for job training and placement services. Section 188 of this act prohibits most job training and placement services from denying services to or discriminating against qualified applicants on the basis of disability who meet the eligibility requirements for these services and are not currently using drugs illegally.

A key component for the Workforce Investment Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act is that for each of these laws to apply to your situation, you should not currently using illegal drugs. If you choose to continue to use illegal drugs, you are likely to be considered an ineligible applicant for the job position or housing transaction.

Remember, these laws exist to protect you when seeking employment and also give you options for treatment. Discrimination is not allowed by law; therefore, when you apply for a job, consider researching each of these laws so you know what a possible employer can legally ask you about recovery. You should not lie to an employer, but it is important to know your rights.

The way mental health and addiction to drugs like Xanax is viewed has changed greatly over the years. Get the information you need, and you can move forward in your recovery. If you have any questions, please call our 24 hour, toll-free helpline. Our counselors have been trained specifically to help you with your situation and will be glad to help you out. You likely have insurance right now that covers treatment. Make the call, and find out to see what your options are so that you can move forward and live a healthy life.

Are you ready to seek treatment?

If you are ready to beat a Xanax addiction and start a new life in recovery then we can help. We have admission counselors standing by 24 hours a day to take your email, live chat request, or phone call to get you in the addiction treatment center that best fits your unique & specific needs.