What is the Connection Between Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders?
Which came first – the chicken or the egg? The same question can be asked about mental health and substance abuse in situations involving dual diagnosis. A dual diagnosis is when someone has both a mental health disorder and a substance abuse disorder.
In fact, about half the people with a substance use problem will experience mental health issues at some point in their lives and vice versa. Here are some reasons why:
1. For one, genetics, stress, and trauma can all lead to co-occurring disorders.
2. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, substance use disorders can contribute to the development of mental illness. This is because drug and alcohol use can lead to changes in some areas in the brain and that are also disrupted by mental disorders such as anxiety, mood, schizophrenia, or impulse-control disorders.
3. On the other side of the coin, mental health disorders can lead people to turn to drugs and alcohol as a coping mechanism. This type of self-medication is everywhere and most commonly presents itself when you are in an uncomfortable situation and need to quell the disruptive feelings.
When ignored on their own, substance use and mental health disorders can worsen. But when they are co-occurring disorders, the decline can be much worse. It may feel like an endless loop and you can’t figure out where one ends and the other begins. It doesn’t have to always be that way. With the right diagnosis and treatment program, you can get back on track and overcome your dual diagnosis.
Dual Diagnosis: Substance Abuse and Mental Health
Approximately 43% of individuals with substance use disorders, ages 26 to 49, also experience a mental health disorder. Treating a dual diagnosis of substance abuse and mental health means treating both of the disorders, not just one or the other, especially since co-occurring disorders both have their own symptoms that may impact your daily life and disrupt responsibilities or activities you used to enjoy.
You’ll usually notice that detoxification will come as the first step, as you need to rid the body of all drugs and alcohols to really begin recovery. Once detox has been completed, medication-assisted therapy may be introduced in addition to other types of behavioral therapies. The behavioral therapies will usually include individual, group, or family therapy sessions in order to get to the bottom of problems at hand. Again, it is important that both co-occurring disorders are addressed in dual diagnosis treatment for the best results of recovery possible.
Victory Bay Mental Health IOP
Victory Bay Recovery Center is a dual diagnosis treatment center that offers Addiction and Mental Health Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP). These IOPs allow you to focus on your substance use and mental health disorders in a community setting while also reintegrating back into your home life. With flexible mental health IOP options, you have the opportunity to gain and maintain sobriety and stability within your life.
If you or a loved one is looking for dual diagnosis treatment in South Jersey, contact Victory Bay at 855.259.1624 to start the process and begin your evaluation.