Dual Diagnosis Treatment: The Link Between Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders

Understanding the Intersection Between Mental Health Disorders and Substance Abuse

Often, mental health disorders and substance abuse go hand-in-hand, and close to 50 percent of those who have an underlying mental illness will also be struggling with addiction. For those struggling with co-occurring disorders, dual diagnosis treatment is an effective modality that will help individuals overcome and manage these issues.

Facts About Mental Health and Addiction

Individuals who struggle with mental health issues may turn to abuse substances to cope with the symptoms and side effects they are experiencing. This self-medicating method simply does not work and can spiral into full-on addiction without intention. A recent study suggested that:

  • Half of those who struggle with a mental disorder almost struggle with a substance abuse problem
  • 53 percent of drug abusers and 37 percent of alcohol abusers have an underlying mental illness as well
  • 29 percent of substance abusers are also diagnosed as being mentally ill

For those struggling with a mental health disorder and an addiction, everyday life decisions can become difficult to navigate. Maintaining a stable life is not possible without professional help, coping mechanisms, and tools for success.

If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction, call WhiteSands Alcohol and Drug Rehab today at 877.969.1993 to learn how we can help.

Why Do Mental Health Disorders and Substance Abuse So Often Co-Occur?

Several reasons are explaining the co-existence of substance abuse and mental health disorders. Some of the factors that play into the reality that many individuals who struggle with one often struggle with the other are:

  • Heredity and genetic factors
  • Self-medicating with drugs/alcohol to suppress the side effects of an undiagnosed mental health disorder
  • Exposure to trauma, either physical or mental, at some point in the individual life

When comorbidity, a mental health disorder as well as a substance abuse disorder, is present, one condition can exacerbate the other. This perpetual cycle can only be managed with professional help.

Common Mental Health Conditions that Co-Occur With Addiction

Those who struggle with a co-occurring disorder are often more susceptible to certain mental health conditions than others. Some of the most common mental health conditions that are often present in those who are struggling with addiction are:

  • Clinical depression
  • Generalized anxiety
  • Bipolar disorder
  • PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder)
  • Schizophrenia
  • Borderline personality disorder
  • Panic disorder

In some situations, alcohol and drug abuse may induce mental illness, while in other cases, the mental health condition can result in addiction by virtue of self-medication.

What Is Dual Diagnosis Treatment?

During dual diagnosis treatment, patients will be treated for both their co-occurring mental health disorder as well as their addiction. By addressing both problems, individuals will have the solid groundwork to build their recovery on. This treatment model allows patients to work one-on-one with a primary therapist to stabilize the individuals on a psychological level. Since mental illness is often at the foundation of those who struggle with a co-occurring disorder, the mental illness must be treated first before the addiction is addressed.

The Importance of Healing Addiction at the Root

If addiction is not treated at its core, it will continue to resurface and the problem is not fixed until it is recognized, treated, and managed. Identifying the driving force of the addiction is the best way to successfully recover from addiction and sustain sobriety on a long-lasting basis. When the reasons you are using in the first place are determined, it sets a solid foundation for your treatment program.

Achieving Lasting Change Through WhiteSands Dual Diagnosis Treatment Program

WhiteSands Alcohol and Drug Rehab offers a full range of treatment programs and all levels of care, including dual diagnosis treatment. We have helped tens of thousands of individuals struggling with both a mental health disorder and substance abuse problem make a full recovery. These individuals continue to live productive and content lives to this very day and credit WhiteSands and their team for their success. Please call us today or visit one of our Florida locations to learn more about how we can treat your addiction and mental health disorder.

If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.

About the Author

Jackie has been involved in the substance abuse and addiction treatment sector for over five years and this is something that she is truly eager about. She has a passion for writing and continuously works to create informative pieces that not only educate and inform the public about the disease of addiction but also provide solutions for those who struggle with drug and alcohol abuse.