Co-Occurring Disorders (Dual Diagnosis): The Relationship Between Addiction and Mental Health

How Substance Abuse Affects Your Mental Health

The connection between mental illness and substance misuse is well-known in the behavioral therapy community. If a person is predisposed to a mental health disorder, symptoms may be triggered by alcohol and drug abuse. Substance use disorders can lead to mental health illnesses such as anxiety and depression, but in some cases, eliminating drugs and alcohol is enough to alleviate the symptoms. However, in other cases, drug or alcohol abuse changes the brain’s chemistry long-term and causes more permanent damage. Alcohol and other central nervous system depressants can trigger depression, including feelings of hopelessness, lethargy, and sadness. Stimulants like cocaine and methamphetamines can cause drug-induced psychosis, including hallucinations and delusions.

The Risks of Untreated Co-Occurring Disorders

Addiction is a mental health disorder, just like other mental illnesses like anxiety disorders and depression. For a long time, addiction treatment centers have seen a link between substance abuse and mental health and commonly co-occur. The relationship between substance abuse and mental health is more common than most people know. 

People who suffer from mental health disorders like depression, anxiety disorder, bipolar disorder, or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder often turn to alcohol and drugs as a way to self-medicate and relieve their symptoms. They may feel temporary relief but are not actually treating the root of their mental health disorder which may even make their symptoms worse. As they continue to use more drugs and alcohol to offset their symptoms leading to abusing substances further and an unhealthy cycle of worsening symptoms.


What are Some Common Risk Factors for Mental Illness and Substance Abuse

Co-occurring substance use disorders and mental health issues are more common than many people realized. According to the Journal of American Medical Association, about 50% of individuals with severe mental disorders are affected by substance abuse. Individuals who do not seek help for their mental illness, risk acquiring an addiction disorder if they decide to self-medicate with alcohol and drugs. People are at higher risk for developing a mental health disorder because of a variety of reasons including genetics, their environment, and other factors. Long-term drug or alcohol use disorder also alters the brain physically and can cause mental health disorders even without a predisposition. Addiction can sharply increase symptoms of mental illness or even trigger new symptoms. Also, individuals who have experienced emotional, physical, or sexual abuse or trauma are more likely to develop a substance use disorder.

What is Co-Occurring Disorder (Dual Diagnosis) Treatment?

Dual Diagnosis, now referred to as Co-Occurring Disorders treatment, is a method of treating a person who is diagnosed with both a substance use disorder and a mental health disorder, also known as co-occurring mental disorders. This method of treatment aims to treat both disorders simultaneously rather than separately. Co-occurring disorders can make a drug or alcohol abuse treatment program much more complex. Without proper care, such as a treatment facility that provides dual diagnosis, the substance use treatment outlook is poor.

Treating Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders at TruPath Recovery

If you are struggling with addiction and other mental health illnesses, you don’t have to live with these issues anymore. TruPath Recovery can help treat your addiction without a complete continuum of care. Our combination of evidence-based addiction treatments complemented with holistic interventions has helped many clients achieve lasting sobriety. You will receive a customized dual diagnosis treatment plan to treat your substance misuse and mental health disorder and leave our treatment center with the proper tools to continue your recovery on your own. Your mental health is our priority and we are committed to helping you the healthy, productive life you envisioned. For more information, give us a call today.

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