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The Link Between Addiction and Mental Illness

October 21, 2016 - - 0 Comments

Mental IllnessThe relationship between addiction and mental illness is very synergistic.  It is so strong in fact, that many think that drugs cause mental illness to develop. When united together in an addict, they can wreak havoc.  According to Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA), 8.9 million people have both issues.  Sadly, though, the majority will never see a dual diagnosis treatment program, as 55.8% won’t treat either condition at all.

What Exactly is Happening?

When these conditions co-exist, one can feed and enable the other in an endless variety of combinations and factors. For example, anxiety and depression may cause a person to drink or use more in an attempt to mitigate their symptoms, which go away, but only for a short while.  They come back, and their mental health issues are once again at the forefront of their lives.

On the other hand, someone who never had a mental health issue can develop one through chronic drug abuse.  Drugs and alcohol alter the brain and can bring on anxiety and depression, that they might try to manage with even more drugs.  It is a vicious cycle where one feeds the other.  It is a complex world to navigate and you need the expertise of dual diagnosis treatment facilities to get the right diagnoses and correct treatment for each.

However, it doesn’t just stop with anxiety and depression.  Other types of mental illness can up the ante even further.  For example, those with bipolar disorder may abuse substances at a higher clip to manage their frequent mood swings.  And those who suffer delusions or hallucinations, such as those found in people with schizophrenia and PTSD, are also at a greater risk to abuse drugs or alcohol.

How Many People are Affected?

According to the Journal of American Medical Association (JAMA), 50% of people with a mental Illness also abuse drugs and alcohol.  That number is absolutely staggering, but treatment is still put on the back burner.  Only 7.4% of people will ever see the inside of a dual diagnosis residential treatment and get treatment for both!

What Causes Dual Diagnosis Disorders

  1. The Need to Self Medicate.  Of course, the abuse of a drug is the wrong way, however, by seeking a dual diagnosis treatment program, you can learn the correct way without involving substance abuse.
  2. Brain Altering Chemicals.  Chronic substance abuse that damages the brain can be the tipping point where new mental illnesses take form.
  3. Genetics.  Some people are predisposed to both mental illness and addiction and have less resistance to substance abuse.
  4. The Developing Brain.  Young minds not yet fully developed can have their cognitive and social development altered by drug abuse.

Treatment Plans

According to Stephen Gilman, MD, an addiction psychiatrist at New York University in New York City, “Alcoholism and drug abuse addictions and other psychiatric disorders often occur at the same time. However, they are distinct disorders that must be treated as such in order to get a good outcome for the patient.”

The experts at a dual diagnosis residential treatment are able to do just that.  They can parse out each condition, identify its relationship to other conditions and factors, then establish a definitive treatment plan.  Due to the complexity of their relationships, it can take some time for dual diagnosis treatment programs to peel apart each layer.  The longer the patient stays sober and works to understand what is going on, the more definitive the relationship becomes and the correct treatment path becomes clearer.

His and Her Houses offers industry leading Mental Health treatment programs. We were founded in 1994 and we base our 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 love one at (888) 376-7268.

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