It’s no secret that addiction can affect your mind just as much as it affects your body. Luckily, addiction recovery works to reverse those consequences. But what happens when you are managing a mental health disorder in addition to substance abuse challenges? How might addiction provoke mental health problems? Can the two disorders be treated simultaneously? Learn more about how we treat substance use and mental health challenges at Genesis Recovery; and why that treatment is so critical.
Why Mental Health Treatment Matters in Addiction Recovery
In 2018, 19.3% of U.S. adults, or 9.2 million individuals, struggled with mental illness alongside a substance use disorder. According to reports published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, 37% of people who misuse alcohol and 53% of people who use drugs also struggle with at least one serious mental illness. Behavioral health experts refer to the presence of more than one disorder in the same person as comorbidity. You might also hear mental health and addiction described as co-occurring disorders, which simply means they are happening at the same time. Some treatment providers also use the term dual diagnosis to refer to these challenges. As comorbidity and co-occurring disorders become more prevalent, it’s important for addiction treatment programs to acknowledge and address mental health as a core aspect of rehabilitation. Here are the reasons why.
Mental Illness and Substance Abuse Are Connected
According to reports published by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), there’s a definite connection between mental illness and addictive substances. In fact, people with mental health conditions make up 38% of individuals who consume alcohol and 44% of people who use cocaine. Consider these statistics as well:
- More than 50 percent of Americans living with a mental health condition or substance use disorder did not get any treatment for either disorder.
- A study published by SAMHSA suggests that the number of Americans living with a substance use disorder hovered around 24.6 million, with about five million of these individuals also managing a co-occurring mental health disorder.
- Only 34 percent of Americans diagnosed with a substance use disorder and a mental health disorder received mental health treatment alone, while an estimated 2% received treatment for their addiction issues only. 12% received integrated dual diagnosis treatment that addresses both disorders.
Withdrawal Can Temporarily Affect Your Mental Health
Removing drugs and alcohol from your body is one of the first steps toward addiction recovery. As beneficial as detox is for the body, the process of withdrawal can result in severe symptoms which can include:
- Suicidal thoughts and attempts
All of these symptoms can temporarily affect your mental health. That’s why most programs offer medically-supervised detox and around-the-clock support. When symptoms become too much, many programs provide therapists, clinicians, and behavioral experts to help walk clients through their temporary mental health challenges. In addition, rehabilitation programs offer therapy and counseling to help you maintain strong mental health as you work toward recovery and long-term sobriety.
Self-Medicating with Alcohol and Drugs During Mental Health Challenges
Once you’ve completed detox and your body is free of addictive substances, you’ll work with a therapist to discuss why you made the choices you did and to better understand your behavior patterns. While you may not realize it at first, you may have started using drugs or alcohol as a form of self-medication or to better cope with mental health challenges. Drinking to ease anxiety and using drugs to escape depression are two common examples of self-medication. Simply detoxing your body won’t help you fix or manage these problems. If you are using substances to self-medicate, understanding your mental health and learning strategies to maintain it will help you achieve long-term recovery.
Adjusting to Life After Rehab Can Affect Your Mental Health
Even though completing your rehabilitation program is a major accomplishment, adjusting to life after rehab isn’t always an easy transition. You might have trouble finding a job, establishing a routine, obtaining financial security, or locating a sober living situation. You may find these circumstances stressful, which, in turn, can affect your mental health. If you’re living with untreated or undiagnosed mental health problems, that amount of stress can make your condition worse. Luckily, if your addiction recovery program treats mental health, you’ll have learned tools, skills, and resources to manage your mental health disorder without returning to substance use.
You’re More Likely to Relapse When Your Mental Health Is Unstable
Relapse happens in three stages: a loss of emotional control, an increase in negative thoughts, and the actual act of drug or alcohol use. When your mind isn’t stable, you’re much more likely to lose control of your emotions, which may send you down a rabbit hole of defeatist and pessimistic thoughts. If left unattended, you may end up relapsing. Our relapse prevention programs at Genesis Recovery help lessen the likelihood of these kinds of situations.
What is Dual Diagnosis Treatment?
Dual diagnosis treatment is a specific program that Genesis Recovery offers to provide treatment for mental health and substance use challenges. While some dual diagnosis programs treat mental health and addiction at different times, we use an integrated treatment approach as recommended by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). In our integrated program, you’ll receive simultaneous treatment for both disorders. When you attend our program, you’ll receive treatment that focuses on reducing both mental health challenges and substance use. The benefits of dual diagnosis treatment can include:
- Therapy to cope with mental health disorders
- Addressing the roots of addiction and causes of mental health disorders
- Learning coping mechanisms that may lessen mental health and addiction challenges
- Identifying mental health and substance use triggers
Treatment to Heal Your Body and Mind
Alcohol and drug misuse can increase your risk of developing underlying mental disorders. At the same time, substance use disorders may make symptoms of a mental health problem worse. That’s why rehab programs do a full evaluation of your current state of health before you begin treatment. If you have a dual diagnosis, you’ll need to treat your substance use disorder and mental health condition, ideally at the same time. Once both of those challenges are addressed and appropriately treated, you’ll be more likely to maintain long-term recovery.
At Genesis Recovery, our goal is to help restore lives broken by addiction. Let us help you get there. We have a range of programs designed to treat your body and mind. Call us today at 619-797-7319 if you or a loved one is struggling with an addiction or mental health condition.