Mental health disorders are common among people with a substance or alcohol use disorder. It is called a dual diagnosis or co-occurring disorder when a mental health condition and an addiction are paired together.
Mental health is a critical aspect of our lives that is often overlooked or misunderstood. Mental health treatment is essential for those who suffer from mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, and mood disorders. It can be difficult to recognize when you need help, but it is important to understand that mental health treatment is available and can be incredibly beneficial.
Mental health is a state of emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. Mental health is important at every stage of life, from childhood and adolescence through adulthood.
Good mental health helps us lead a productive life, enjoy our relationships, and cope with the normal stresses of life. Mental health issues can affect anyone, regardless of age, gender, or background. Mental health problems can range from mild to severe and can be temporary or long-lasting.
Taking care of your mental health is as important as your physical health. It is also important to recognize that mental health issues can be treated and managed and that recovery is possible.
Early warning signs of mental health disorders can manifest in various ways. One of the most common signs is a sudden loss of enjoyment in once pleasurable activities. Erratic behavior can also be a sign of underlying mental health issues. This may include sudden changes in mood, sleeping patterns, or social behavior.
If a person becomes reclusive and isolates themselves from family and friends, this can also be a sign of a potential mental health disorder. If they persist, it is important to recognize these signs and seek help from a mental health professional. Early diagnosis and treatment can help reduce the severity of the disorder and improve the quality of life.
Learn more about the American Psychiatric Association’s Warning Signs of Mental Illnesses.
A co-occurring disorder, also known as dual diagnosis, is a condition in which an individual experiences both a mental health disorder and a substance abuse disorder.
These disorders can be related to one another by having overlapping symptoms or caused by the same underlying issue. Treatment for co-occurring disorders usually involves a combination of psychotherapy, medication, and support groups. These disorders are often interrelated and can interact in complex ways. Recognizing that you can manage co-occurring disorders with the right treatment and support is important.
In 2018, the National Institute on Drug Abuse released a PDF titled Comorbidity: Substance Use and Other Mental Disorders. Follow the link to learn more about co-occurring disorders.
Dual diagnoses can come in various configurations, but the below sections list common mental health and substance abuse disorder comorbidities.
Schizophrenia is a long-term mental illness characterized by a breakdown in the link between thinking, emotion, and behavior. This results in inaccurate perceptions, as well as inappropriate behaviors and sentiments. It can also result in a retreat from reality. Personal relationships can sometimes turn into fantasy and delusion. A feeling of mental fragmentation is reported to be common, also.
Those with schizophrenia are found to be more susceptible to abusing high-potency marijuana and other sedatives.
Post-traumatic stress disorder can occur when a person has difficulty recovering after experiencing or witnessing a traumatizing event, such as sexual abuse, military combat, or violence.
Symptoms may include nightmares or unwelcome recollections of the trauma, avoidance of situations that trigger flashbacks to the trauma, heightened reactivity, anxiety, or depression. Some researchers have suggested that PTSD patients may have lower pain thresholds for pain and are, therefore, likely to develop an opioid addiction.
Bipolar disorder is a condition marked by mood swings ranging from depressive lows to manic highs. Mood episodes last days to months and are associated with suicidal thoughts and dangerous behavior.
According to research, those with bipolar disorder are up to seven times more likely to develop alcohol addiction. Almost half of the people with bipolar disorder abuse alcohol, which unintentionally exacerbates the symptoms of bipolar disorder.
Depression, referred to as the common cold of mental illness, is a mental health disorder characterized by the consistency of a depressed mood or loss of interest in activities. It causes significant detriments to daily activities and relationships.
Approximately 10% of the US population is estimated to suffer from a major depressive disorder. At least one-third of them abuse drugs such as cocaine and other stimulants. This is a particularly dangerous pairing as cocaine binges, and withdrawals can exacerbate depression and feed a cycle of more drug abuse to feel better.
Anxiety is a broad-spectrum disorder that generally leads to substance abuse and the development of a substance abuse disorder. Generalized anxiety disorder leads to the preoccupation with stressful situations and scenarios, real or imagined, that then causes distress and dysregulation of emotions and behaviors.
Because the spectrum of mental health disorders is so vast, there is an equally broad approach to mental health treatment. These programs can help individuals struggling with mental health issues and dual diagnoses. Common treatments include inpatient treatment, partial hospitalization, and intensive outpatient programs. Usually, healthcare providers pair these with various therapies and physiatric care.
Inpatient care is when those suffering from a disorder can no longer care for themselves and are in immediate danger of hurting themselves or others. Patients spend a period in a hospital setting where they can receive attentive, intensive care.
Partial hospitalization involves daily therapy, psychiatry, and group therapy. This type of program is less intensive than inpatient care but more intensive than traditional outpatient treatment. It requires the individual to be in the hospital for a portion of the day. Intensive outpatient programs are also available and involve fewer hours of treatment than partial hospitalization.
Patients actively engage in other forms of mental healthcare throughout these treatments. Therapy can help individuals learn how to cope with their mental health issues, while psychiatry focuses on medication management. Group therapy is beneficial as it allows individuals to talk to others who may be going through similar struggles. Mental health treatment programs can help individuals regain control of their lives and improve their overall well-being.
Integrated treatment is an important component of recovery for individuals with a dual diagnosis of substance use disorder and mental health disorder. This treatment is the simultaneous treatment of both ailments. This approach addresses the whole person and recognizes the interdependence of mental health and substance abuse.
The goals of integrated treatment are to reduce symptoms of both the mental health disorder and the substance use disorder, improve overall functioning, and prevent relapse.
Integrated treatment at Massachusetts Center for Addiction takes into account the unique needs of each individual and can include individual, group, and family therapy, medication management, and other evidence-based practices. Integrated treatment is important because it helps individuals with a dual diagnosis to understand the connection between their mental health and substance abuse.
Located in Quincy, MA, our knowledgeable and professional staff helps you get your life back on track and achieve long-term sobriety. The 12 steps, accountability, and support from our loved ones and community are just a few ways we help individuals recognize, address, and overcome substance abuse.