When both substance abuse and mental health disorder occur together, the condition becomes known as dual diagnosis or co-occurring disorders. Examples of having a dual diagnosis could mean an addiction to alcohol while also suffering from severe depression.
Reasons why mental illness and addition often go together include:
- Self-Medication: This is a person with a mental illness that may be abusing drugs or alcohol as a means to self-medicate for an addiction.
- Onset of symptoms: Taking drugs or abusing alcohol can cause the onset of symptoms that may have been underlying for some time.
- One worsens the other: Drugs and alcohol can negatively impact a person’s well-being mentally, as well as any medications they’re taking. Taking alcohol, for example, can make anti-depressants less effective.
Common Mental Health Disorders linked to Addiction
There are many different types of mental health disorders, along with the variety of drugs a person can choose to abuse. Below are some examples of mental health disorders that are commonly linked together:
- Depression: Affecting many individuals, depression can cause sadness, hopelessness and helplessness. It comes in many forms of substance abuse that include both legal and illegal drugs as well as alcohol.
- Eating Disorders: Bulimia, binge eating and anorexia are some of the types of eating disorders. This occurs when a person has a distorted view of his or her body type. The person may suffer from depression and anxiety due to their unwanted body image, causing them to abuse drugs and alcohol just to deal with their feelings.
- OCD (Obsessive–Compulsive Disorder): This deals with the need to achieve an order or routine, and can become very daunting. A person may try to escape these thoughts through narcotic abuse.
- PTSD (Post–traumatic Stress Disorder): If a person has gone through a very traumatic experience, like a home invasion, war or natural disaster, this disorder occurs afterwards. Alcohol is usually the common substance abused with those suffering from PTSD.
- Anxiety: One begins to feel nervous, stressed out, and completely on the edge that is usually elevated to a higher level than appropriate. People often turn to opiates and liquor to relieve this condition.
Treatments for Co-Occurring Disorders
660,000 adults in Florida live with a serious mental illness, according to NAMI. Only 26 percent of adults in Florida with mental illness go on to receive treatments that Florida’s public mental health system provides.
One should never feel ashamed or nervous to seek drug treatment for these types of disorders. There are various ways to treatment approach that can help a person feel more at ease. Below are a few steps to endure:
- Psychotherapy: This involves the psychological support of a person living with a mental illness. The therapy helps a person work through problems and find ways that can assist him or her live a more productive life.
- Behavioral Management: An offshoot of therapy that helps one identify decisions or mistakes they made in the past that might have led to abusing drugs. Once these are identified, the person is then encouraged to create their own solutions to prevent the situation from happening again.