The Link Between Mental Health and Addiction
The link between mental health issues and addiction is well-established. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, one in four people with a severe mental illness also suffer from addiction.
Yet the reasons for this link are somewhat complex.
On the one hand, people with mental health issues often go without treatment. Sometimes this can be due to lack of access; other times, a lack of willingness to accept it.
In an effort to seek relief for their symptoms, many people with dual-diagnosis disorders start self-medicating. Self-medicating means abusing drugs or alcohol to manage symptoms of a mental health disorder. While providing temporary relief, this often leads to the symptoms becoming worse in the long run.
On the other hand, drug or alcohol abuse can also raise one’s risk for developing a mental illness, especially if they are genetically predisposed in such a way.
And this is especially so if the substance abuse begins when the person is young. For example, studies have linked early-life cannabis use to higher likelihood of developing schizophrenia.
Doctors refer to this coincidence of mental illness and substance abuse as a dual diagnosis. People in this category require special treatment at dual diagnosis treatment centers, where both the addiction and underlying mental health issues driving it can be treated.
What Mental Health Issues are Associated with Addiction?
There are a large variety of mental health conditions that are associated with addiction.
Some of the most common include:
- Depression — According to a national survey, 16.9% of the 20.3 million people who suffer from depression also reported having a substance use disorder
- Anxiety Disorders — Nearly 22% of those with anxiety disorders self-medicate with drugs or alcohol.
- Schizophrenia — 47% of people with schizophrenia deal with substance abuse issues throughout their lives.
- Personality Disorder — One study found that anywhere from 34 to 73% of personality disorder cases also involve addiction
- Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) — Over 21% of people with PTSD struggle with substance abuse issues
If you or a loved one are dealing with mental illness and addiction, contact Aliya Health to benefit from one of our dual diagnosis treatment centers.
Dual Diagnosis Treatment for Co-Occurring Disorders
The main feature of Dual Diagnosis treatment is that it tackles both conditions together. This is crucial because both the mental illness and substance use disorder can influence each other.
For example, a person with mental illness might use drugs or alcohol to cope with their symptoms (known as “self-medication”), and conversely, substance use can exacerbate mental health issues.
Dual Diagnosis Treatment:
This means treating both the mental illness and substance use disorder at the same time. The healthcare team, which can include psychiatrists, social workers, therapists, and other medical professionals, collaboratively create a comprehensive treatment plan that addresses both conditions.
Certain medications may be used to manage withdrawal symptoms, reduce cravings, and treat mental health conditions. Antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications, mood stabilizers, and antipsychotics can all be part of a comprehensive treatment plan.
This is often a key component of dual diagnosis treatment. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is frequently used, which helps individuals identify and change negative thought patterns that can lead to substance use and exacerbate mental health conditions. Other types of therapy, such as Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT), family therapy, or group therapy, may also be included.
How Dual Diagnosis Treatment Helps:
By addressing both disorders simultaneously, Dual Diagnosis treatment provides a holistic approach that can lead to improved outcomes compared to treating each disorder separately. The aim is to not only achieve sobriety but also to manage the symptoms of mental illness, reduce the risk of relapse, improve overall health, and enhance quality of life.
It’s worth noting that the path to recovery from co-occurring disorders can be complex and challenging, and it’s not a one-size-fits-all process. The best treatment approach varies depending on the types and severity of disorders, the individual’s personal circumstances, and their readiness to change. That’s why a tailored, individualized treatment plan is crucial.
Co-Occurring Disorder Treatment at Aliya Health Group
If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction, you don’t have to face it alone.
We at Aliya Health Group seek to be a beacon, resource, and partner for those struggling with addiction. We offer affordable and compassionate alcohol addiction treatment, with dual diagnosis treatment centers across the country.
There are several different approaches to treating dual diagnosis treatment, including:
After successfully completing medical detox, you’ll transition to residential treatment, also known as inpatient treatment. There, you’ll receive medically-assisted treatment and dual diagnosis treatment to deal with any cravings or co-occurring mental health issues you may be battling.
In addition to individual and group counseling and medication management, you’ll also have access to leisure activities and family support services.
A step down from inpatient care but with more structure than conventional outpatient programs, a partial hospitalization program offers a good balance for those looking to ease back into normal life. Clients can receive care five to seven days a week for a number of hours each day, returning back to their homes in the evening.
This way, they can recover without putting their daily lives on hold, receiving intense therapeutic interventions like group and individual therapy, skill development, and medication management as necessary.
Intensive Outpatient Treatment
Clients undergoing this program participate in intensive therapy sessions, meeting three to five days a week, with each session lasting three hours. This level of care is a step down from partial hospitalization, requiring less time commitment.
IOPs offer participants the ability to continue their employment or academic obligations, receiving support and therapy as needed as they prepare to reenter society.
Finally, there’s outpatient care. Outpatient care allows clients to receive care without neglecting their responsibilities at home. It also tends to be significantly more affordable than higher levels of care.
Start Your Dual Diagnosis Recovery Journey Today
If you or a loved one are thinking of seeking dual diagnosis treatment but have questions, call us at 888-965-3085 or contact us here. Our highly qualified staff will be happy to assist you.
- Treatment of the Depressed Alcoholic Patient – PMC (nih.gov)
- Part 1: The Connection Between Substance Use Disorders and Mental Illness | National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) (nih.gov)
- Young men at highest risk of schizophrenia linked with cannabis use disorder | National Institutes of Health (NIH)
- Comorbidity of Personality Disorder among Substance Use Disorder Patients: A Narrative Review – PMC (nih.gov)
- The Link Between Schizophrenia and Substance Use Disorder: A Unifying Hypothesis – PMC (nih.gov)