Drug addiction makes life difficult enough on its own, but many sufferers have co-occurring mental illnesses which worsen their problems. Studies have shown that recovering addicts are more likely to relapse if these other conditions are left untreated, and some researchers believe that drug abuse may even cause mental illness. To address this complex issue, many rehab clinics now use dual diagnosis to assess and treat both conditions. In order to help addicts get the comprehensive treatments they need, people should learn more about the nature and benefits of this practice.
Signs of Co-Occurring Disorders
It can be difficult to determine whether an addict is suffering from a chronic mental illness or a shorter bout of emotional problems. However, there are few severe signs which indicate a true psychiatric condition. They include:
*Lifelong problems relating to family members and peers
*Constant dangerous behaviors
*Legal troubles and prison time
*Multiple rehab visits and relapses
*Trouble holding a job
The repetitive nature of most of these problems shows that some addicts have been struggling with their mental conditions for far longer than they’ve dealt with substance abuse. Repeated relapses also indicate that successful recovery will require additional treatments for their co-occurring illnesses.
The Relationship between Addiction and Mental Health
Depression, anxiety, and other mental illnesses can easily lead people to use drugs and alcohol to cope. However, they may begin to suffer even more when they’re not drunk or high. By habitually self-medicating, they quickly develop crippling substance dependencies. Their psychiatric conditions remain, and they have the new and life-threatening problem of addiction to deal with as well.
Addicts who are genetically predisposed to mental illnesses may also develop them because of drug use. When certain substances enter the bloodstream, they cause the brain to release dopamine – the hormone responsible for feelings of euphoria. Once these effects wear off, some users are left feeling extremely depressed. By constantly stimulating their brains to produce these immense fluctuations, addicts can cause permanent changes to their brain chemistries. Depressive hormonal imbalances which were once subtle may become far more pronounced.
Risks of Addiction and Mental Illness
Drug addiction compels people to display a variety of reckless and abusive behaviors, but some people can manage their cravings. However, addicts who suffer simultaneous mental illnesses can become too overwhelmed to control themselves. They often risk arrest for driving drunk, causing domestic disturbances, and stealing to obtain more drugs. They are also more likely to become homeless as they destroy their careers and financial lives with their addictive behaviors.
How Integrated Therapy can Help
Traditional drug rehab methods may work well for treating addiction, but mentally ill patients need a more comprehensive set of therapies to achieve lasting sobriety. Many clinics now use integrated therapy to address both concerns. During individual counseling sessions, dual diagnosis practitioners can identify and prescribe further treatment for a wide array of mental problems. While they work with addicts to manage their addictions, other staff members can help the same patients deal with their psychiatric issues. Ultimately, rehab patients can get all the help they need at one facility, and they increase their chances of staying clean for years to come.
If you or a loved one is struggling with a co-occurring disorder, you need to seek treatment as soon as possible. Addiction and mental illness is a dangerous combination, but clinical rehab can help you address both concerns. Call the number at the top of your screen now and let our dedicated representatives organize a drug rehab program that will meet your individual needs.