Substance Abuse and Mental Illness
It is not uncommon to find that issues of substance use and chemical dependency are accompanied by other underlying issues. According to reports from the National Institute of Drug Abuse, more half of the individuals in treatment for addiction also have an underlying mental illness. This circumstance is commonly referred to as co-occurring disorders. Substance abuse and mental illness often possesses a harmful synergy that can make recovery extremely difficult if it is not addressed.
Oftentimes, the symptoms of an underlying mental illness will contribute to the need to self-medicate with
substances. For example, many people with anxiety or panic disorders may turn to Central Nervous-System (CNS) depressants like alcohol, benzodiazepines or opiates. On the other side of the spectrum, one with
depression or episodes of depression from Bipolar may resort to using amphetamines, cocaine or crystal meth to increase his/her energy level. While this might work in theory, the addictive elements create an additional issue, rather than actually help.
Substance use itself can also contribute to the symptoms of more substantial mental disorders. Many times, psychoactive substance will actually worsen the symptoms of existing mental disorders. In addition, if an
individual has a genetic predisposition for a mental illness, substances can actually induce a mental disorder. For example, there have been reports of individuals with a genetic predisposition to schizophrenia or other psychotic disorders to have had psychotic breaks as a result of trying marijuana just once.
Treatment fro co-occurring disorders can be immensely difficult if only one of the issues is treated at a time. For example, treatment for a mental disorder is nearly impossible if the individual in treatment is still using
substances, thus reduces the effectiveness of treatment. On the hand, if one were to receive care for substance abuse without directly addressing the underlying mental disorder (or at least the symptoms of the disorder), the treatment may likely not be as effective either. In order to receive the highest quality care, it is vital that any person with an addiction as well as a mental disorder strive to find care that is specifically designed around their needs. However, just because someone is diagnosed with both a substance use disorder, that does not mean that there is not any hope.
There are numerous treatment programs available that make accommodations for any disposition one may have. When the option of travelling is taken into account, specialized care becomes widely available; thus allowing for a higher quality of care. Even though there are additional elements that need to be taken into account,
specialized and comprehensive treatment can still pave the way for a successful recovery process. If you or someone you love is diagnosed with a co-occurring disorder, never believe that there is not help available. Many people with co-occurring disorders have received proper care and live healthy and fulfilling lives.
Just as addiction can affect anyone, recovery is also an option for everyone. No matter the circumstances,
everyone has a right to a successful recovery. If you are ready for the help you need, call our service
coordinators any time at (866)-578-7471 and start making change for the better.