If you have been diagnosed with a mental illness and are also suffering from an addiction then you are not alone. According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, approximately 50 percent of individuals with a mental illness are affected by substance abuse while 37 percent of alcoholics and 53 percent of people with drug addictions have at least one serious mental illness.
Because mental illness and addiction are two problems that often coincide, there are plenty of options available for people who need to treat both. Being diagnosed with both a mental illness and an addiction is known as a dual diagnosis. Entering a treatment center that specializes in dual diagnosis will ensure that you are provided with assistance and care for both problems so that you can recover from your substance abuse successfully.
The Link Between Mental Illness and Addiction
A dual diagnosis can happen in a few different ways. For many people they may have previously been dealing with a mental health problem whether they were aware of it or not and their need to self-medicate the symptoms led to an addiction.
In other cases, certain types of drug abuse can cause people to exhibit symptoms of a mental health problem. Either way there is a strong link between mental health issues and substance abuse. It is very common for the two issues to be present in the same individual and they share many of the underlying causes like changes in brain composition, genetic vulnerabilities, and early exposure to stress and trauma.
Substance abuse is often linked with certain mental health problems like depression, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and personality disorder. The symptoms of these mental disorders can be severe enough that people without proper treatment and medication can seek out drug use as a way to alleviate their suffering.
Treating Mental Health in Recovery
When you are dealing with issues of mental health in recovery it is important to get treatment for your disorder along with your addiction. Mental health symptoms can create a higher risk of relapse for people in recovery if they do not receive assistance with these problems.
In treatment you need to deal with the illness through individual counseling and therapy so that you have the opportunity to discuss your symptoms with a professional. A therapist can help you come up with strategies to cope with the symptoms of your mental illness that do not involve self-medication through drugs or alcohol.
Understanding your own mental disorder and knowing how to handle it can help you get through the complexity of your recovery. Addiction problems are still treatable as long as you are getting help for your mental illness at the same time.
While you are in a treatment center you will also have access to helpful medications that can combat some of your symptoms. At a rehab center that specializes in treating dual diagnosis patients they can ensure that you receive medication that is not addictive and is safe for you to take throughout your recovery.
Even if you are completely committed to recovery, your addiction and mental health problems can influence each other if you are not careful to get the right kind of treatment. Ignoring your mental illness in an attempt to become sober can be dangerous and lead down the path of relapse.
Always be mindful of your condition and how it affects your relationship to drugs and alcohol as you are seeking help for your addiction. There are numerous recovery options for people with a co-occurring disorder that can provide safe and effective help to eliminating issues with addiction.