The Connection Between Mental Illness and Addiction
Millions of Americans struggle with mental illness and addiction disorders across the United States. Dual diagnosis, which is when someone has a drug or alcohol addiction in addition to a mental health disorder, is also referred to as co-occurring disorders. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, about half the people suffering from a mental health disorder also have a substance abuse or alcohol or drug addiction issue. In other words, for many people, mental health disorders and drug addiction go hand in hand.
At WhiteSands Alcohol and Drug Rehab, we’re here to help people work through their dual diagnosis of mental illness and drug abuse. A mental illness or addiction can happen first; there is no set course for how they occur. Getting treatment for co-occurring disorders in a program specific to dual diagnosis treatments is very important. In the past, mental health disorders and drug addiction were treated separately, which often led to more problems being caused for either drug abuse or mental health issues.
The connection between mental illnesses and substance abuse has been documented over the last decades, and treatment programs have been developed to treat co-occurring disorders properly. Abusing substances is often a way for people with mental illnesses to try and relieve the symptoms they have to deal with regarding any condition they may have, including post-traumatic stress disorder, eating disorders, anxiety, and depression. Abusing substances can feel like the lesser evil to someone who is dealing with anxiety and depression and wants to be able to get through their day.
There are some more common mental illnesses and substance abuse combinations, although any two co-occurring disorders can happen. For example, mental illness and alcohol addiction often involve depression. This can be a bad combination of substance abuse and mental illness because alcohol is a depressant, and when taken to deal with clinical depression, a vicious cycle can occur. Abusing substances is never a good course of action to deal with anything in life, but it creates a bad situation when mental illness is part of the equation.
Signs Someone Is Struggling with Mental Illness and Addiction
Substance abusers and people with mental illnesses already have a lot to deal with regarding the side effects of their disorders. When a person is dealing with substance abuse and mental health issues at the same time, life can be very confusing at times. One reason is it is often hard for the person with a dual diagnosis to know which of their disorders might be causing them to feel a certain way. For example, alcohol or drug abuse can make a person feel isolated. As a result, so can anxiety and depression. So if a person has a dual diagnosis with abuse or mental health disorders that cause the same side effects, it can be hard to unravel. That’s why it’s so important to find treatment programs that address both sides of someone’s co-occurring disorders at the same time. When someone is struggling with a substance use disorder and mental illness, here are some of the signs:
- Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness
- Loss of interest in daily activities
- Inability to experience a pleasure
- Appetite or weight changes
- Sleep changes
- Loss of energy
- Strong feelings of worthlessness or guilt
- Concentration problems
The symptoms may vary depending on whether someone is dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder, eating disorders, anxiety, depression, alcohol addiction, or drug addiction. It’s always important to be supportive if one of your loved ones is struggling with mental health and substance abuse issues.
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Dual Diagnosis Treatment for Mental Health and Substance Abuse
Mental illness and substance addiction treatment that is right for you is an essential step in your road to a healthier, happier life. No matter whether your drug addiction led to your mental illness, or vice versa, at WhiteSands Alcohol and Drug Rehab, we have dual diagnosis treatments that will help you. People with co-occurring disorders need professionals who understand what they’re going through, and that’s precisely why we have at WhiteSands. Call us today to find out more about our treatment programs for mental illnesses and substance use disorders.
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.