Why Addiction and Mental Health Are Two Sides of the Same Coin
August 16, 2016 - Mental Health - 0 Comments
When addiction and a mental health issue are both diagnosed in the same person, the result is what is known as a “dual diagnosis”. For many people, it can be difficult to determine which is more prevalent, or which one came first. Many people who suffer from mental illness will often turn to drugs or alcohol to cope with the things that frustrate them in real life. In reality, the mental illness does not cause the drug addiction and vice versa. The bad thing is that most people who try to numb their feelings with an addictive drug or alcohol, usually end up making the problem worse. This can eventually lead to the person trying other substances and, in the end, becoming addicted to those as well.
Uncovering the Truth
While mental disorders offer a myriad of symptoms, the use of drugs and alcohol can muddy the waters making it more difficult to reach an accurate diagnosis. In most cases, the addiction is treated first. Certain signs and symptoms of addiction are also associated with mental illness so to uncover the truth, the patient must first be treated for the addiction. This can take several days, especially if the patient is addicted to more than one medicine or substance. Once those symptoms have been eliminated, the doctor can then begin to identify what symptoms are truly caused by the mental illness.
Admitting the Problem
It is hard enough for a person to admit that they may have a mental illness. Getting them to admit that they are addicted to alcohol or any other substance may be almost impossible. The problem is that any treatment option the doctor may attempt to use will not be successful if the patient does not willingly admit he or she has a problem. In fact, if treatment is started before the person admits the problem and agrees to treatment, they will more than likely sabotage the effort before it is even started. It is important to help them understand what is going on and give them the chance to see how their addiction is affecting not only their own health but the lives of their friends and family.
Dealing with the Aftermath
Once the person has admitted they have a problem and is ready to undergo treatment, the next step is helping them work through the difficult period of withdrawal. Withdrawal can be a physically painful experience and, in some cases, can be overwhelming both mentally and emotionally. This period is when the person will need the support of both family and friends to help them cope with the aftermath of their addiction. During this time, the symptoms and signs associated with the mental illness will begin to appear. They will become more prevalent as the effects of the drugs and alcohol begin to wear off. The doctor will begin to get a clearer picture of how severe the mental illness really is.
Mental illness and addiction may be two sides of the same coin, but they must be treated as if they are separate entities. With the addiction out of the way, the doctor can then focus all of his attention on the signs and symptoms of the mental illness. Separating the addiction from the mental illness is the key to treating both successfully. While the addiction may be presenting some of the same symptoms as the mental illness, it may be preventing the doctor from making an accurate diagnosis on both counts. Treating a mental illness takes time and patience. It is much easier for the doctor to create an effective treatment plan to address all of the patient’s health issues and get them back on road to optimum health.
His and Her Houses offers industry leading Addiction and Mental health programs. We were founded in 1994 and we base our Addiction Treatment programs on five key principles: commitment, honesty, integrity, respect, and service. These five principles guide us in all that we do and all the care we provide. Contact us today to see how we can help you or your loved one at (888) 376-7268.