It’s easy to assume that a person who suffers from an addiction problem needs treatment that focuses solely on substance abuse. Many people feel that addiction generally comes on its own, without any other problems. So, addiction treatment is often seen as the solution to all problems in the individual’s life.
But, this isn’t the case. In fact, millions of people who suffer from substance abuse also struggle with other mental health issues. The terms “dual diagnosis” and “co-occurring disorders” are used to describe this occurrence.
Many individuals who are dealing with an alcohol or drug addiction problem also deal with the effects of mental health disorders such as attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and clinical depression.
And, often, the mental health disorder can cause the addiction problem to worsen and vice versa. So, treatment for these individuals should deal with both the addiction problem and the individual’s mental health disorder.
If you struggle with drug or alcohol problems, there’s a strong possibility that you may also be fighting mental health problems like depression, anxiety, mood swings or compulsive behavior. It is not uncommon for people with mental disorders to abuse street drugs, prescription medications or alcohol as a way to cope with their moods or control their fears.
Here at Discovery Institute, we work to help individuals overcome this dependence on medication and other addictive substances. Our mission is to see each of our clients overcome addiction for good.
Discovery’s mental health program provides other services within our residential and outpatient programs that include psychiatric and mental well-being counseling for the management of co-occurring disorders.
The Importance of Treating Mental Health Disorders and Addiction
Every case of addiction differs from the next. Each person who suffers from substance abuse has a unique story and an individual journey. So, it’s important for treatment to do more than simply look at and treat the surface of addiction. Professionals must also look at the underlying causes of addiction in order to successfully treat the problem.
People who are suffering from co-occurring disorders need treatment that focuses on their mental health disorder as well as their alcohol or drug use disorder. If treatment overlooks one of these issues, it’s more likely that the person will not overcome addiction or will suffer an addiction relapse.
Many factors can combine to cause addiction to develop. People can become dependent on alcohol after using it for a while as a way to cope with stress. Individuals might become dependent on painkillers after using them to treat chronic pain for a few months.
But, in cases where a person also struggles with a mental health disorder, it’s common for that disorder to be one of the contributing factors to the development of substance abuse and addiction.
A person who lives with the effects of a mental health issue may struggle to lead a normal life. The disorder may constantly get in the way of regular, everyday activities. This can be extremely stressful, making life uncomfortable for the individual.
Medication may help for a while, but at some point in time, the individual may become overwhelmed by the effects of his or her disorder. The individual might become dependent on medication or seek relief elsewhere.
Alcohol, illicit drugs, and even prescription drugs may seem to offer relief, even if only temporarily. But, eventually, the effects of those substances will wear off. As a result, people may be driven to use drugs or alcohol again and again in order to experience the desired effects.
In these cases, complications with mental health disorders actually lead directly to addiction. So, when a person gets treatment for addiction, it’s important to also deal with the individual’s mental health. After all, if the person only receives help with his or her substance use problem, the main underlying cause (mental health disorder) still remains. As a result, it’s highly possible that the disorder will cause the person to relapse.
So, dual diagnosis treatment programs are extremely important for those who are suffering from various disorders along with alcohol or drug addiction problems.
Discovery’s Mental Health Treatment: Common Co-Occurring Disorders
There are many different types of mental health disorders which commonly occur with addiction. These co-occurring disorders often affect people before addiction appears in their lives. But, in some cases, they are onset by addiction.
Regardless of which one came first, it’s important to understand how addiction and mental health disorders affect each other. They also have a major impact on the lives of those who are living with them. This is one of the reasons why specific and individualized dual diagnosis treatment is so necessary.
Some of the most common mental health disorders that co-occur with substance abuse include:
- Major/Clinical Depression – Everyone becomes sad or downhearted here and there. But, depression is a mental health disorder that’s characterized by chronic episodes of extreme sadness, mood swings, and feelings of hopelessness or uselessness. Individuals may also experience major changes in weight and appetite.
- Anxiety – This disorder is often misinterpreted because, just as depression, it’s characterized by somewhat natural emotions. Most people feel anxious about certain things from time to time. But, an anxiety disorder is more than the occasional feeling of nervousness. People who suffer from General Anxiety Disorder (GAD) feel an extreme feeling of nervousness constantly, even when there is no real threat of danger.
- OCD – Obsessive-compulsive disorder is characterized by compulsions and obsessions which are usually unwanted by those who suffer from this disorder. People who live with OCD may obsess over the fear of becoming ill or losing someone they love. As a result, they may behave compulsively, cleaning excessively or constantly checking to make sure their loved ones are okay.
- PTSD – Post-traumatic stress disorder is a disorder that affects people who have gone through traumatic experiences, including sexual assault, emotional abuse, loss of a loved one, war, car accidents, and so forth. It’s characterized by flashbacks of the event(s), nightmares, and emotional withdrawal.
- ADHD – People who suffer from attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder often struggle to focus and have memory problems. They may have difficulty concentrating at school or work and may struggle to interact with others. Impulsive behavior and hyperactivity are also common symptoms of this disorder.
Individuals who are dealing with any of these disorders paired with substance abuse should receive treatment that focuses on improving both areas of their lives.
Our mental health & specialty services provide support in the following areas:
- Sexual and Physical Abuse
- Domestic Violence
- HIV education and counseling
- Anger Management
- Family Education and Therapy
- IDRC/DUI clientele
- Gender Issues
Discovery’s mental health treatment program consists of medication management, specialty counseling, and medical evaluation and follow-up within the residential community and post-treatment,
We want to ensure that our patients get the help they need for in order to effectively manage their mental health disorders once treatment is over. Turning to drugs and alcohol for self-medication doesn’t need to be an option.
Discovery Institute does not discriminate against individuals who choose to take medication for their mental well-being needs. If you would like to have more information about our services, just call us at (800) 714-2175.