Do mental health disorders make a person more predisposed to addiction? The latest research seems to suggest so, with an estimated 50% of individuals with severe mental health disorders also affected by some form of substance abuse. Furthermore, out of all the people diagnosed with a mental illness, 29% also abuse drugs and alcohol.1
Links Between Mental Health and Addiction Highlight the Need for Drug and Alcohol Rehab Offering Dual Diagnosis Treatment in Arizona
It’s a worrying statistic and one that indicates it’s time for more specialized approaches to drug and alcohol rehab. The more that drug and rehab centers understand dual diagnosis treatment, the more chance we have as a society of guiding the most vulnerable away from addiction and substance abuse.
What Is A Mental Health Disorder?
Mental illnesses are health conditions that involve a person’s thinking, behavior, and emotions. According to the American Psychiatric Association, mental illnesses are associated with distress or problems functioning in social, work, and family settings.2
When a mental health condition coexists with addiction, it’s sometimes referred to as comorbidity or co-occurring disorder. And while neither condition necessarily causes the other, they can exacerbate the symptoms.3
Why Some Mental Health Disorders Are More Prone To Addiction
Firstly, it’s important to note that addiction doesn’t always cause mental health disorders. And mental health disorders don’t always lead to addiction and dependency.
But there is a higher chance of comorbidity due to various factors:
- Some drugs, marijuana, for instance, can increase the risk of psychosis.
- Some people who experience mental health disorders like depression and anxiety use substances to self-medicate. Drugs provide a relaxation effect, easing anxiety symptoms for a short time.
- Younger people are at risk of developing addictive tendencies, especially when mental health issues first appear.4
If not diagnosed correctly and treated, any mental health disorder has the potential to lead to addiction. However, some are considered more high risk than others.
Depression And Anxiety
Depression is much more than feeling fed up and down in the dumps. It is a severe mental health illness in which the symptoms affect everyday life.
Clinical depression can last months, even years. Anxiety and panic attacks are also crippling and affect a person’s ability to interact with society and experience life fully.
As a result, if not treated medically, drugs and alcohol appear to offer a solution to those suffering from depression and anxiety. Drugs temporarily lift the mood, dampening down emotional distress and increasing happiness for a short time.
But what starts as self-medication quickly escalates into addiction and dependency. What’s worse, depression and anxiety also increase the risk of relapse after withdrawal.5
Bipolar disorder causes extreme shifts in mood. These episodes can sometimes happen regularly and last a few days through to a few weeks or occur only several times a year.
Bipolar disorder episodes range from manic (exceptionally cheerful or hostile) to major depressive moods. How does this disorder connect to addiction?
Research shows that substance use disorders are prevalent in bipolar disorders.6 This connection still isn’t fully understood, but research indicates it could be due to genetics or a tendency to have certain characteristic traits.7
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
Researchers estimate that over 25% of adolescents with addiction problems also have ADHD. And people with ADHD are more likely to show impulsive behavior and have high levels of hyperactivity.8
The reasoning behind ADHD and substance abuse could be due to lower levels of dopamine in the brain. Generally, dopamine levels (happy hormones) are lower in those with ADHD, making them more likely to seek that hit from other sources, including drugs and alcohol.
What Type Of Drug And Alcohol Rehab Work Best For Mental Health And Addiction?
It can be challenging to seek help when suffering from a mental health problem. Add addiction to the mix, and it makes it even more challenging. In addition, mental health disorders can be frightening, and it’s tempting to try to ignore the situation. The best approach is one that treats both mental health and substance abuse problems simultaneously – called dual diagnosis treatment.
Desert Cove Recovery is a drug and rehab center that offers dual diagnosis rehab with unique programs suited to the individual patient. Additionally, we offer patients:
- Support groups to help clients understand they aren’t alone with their mental health disorders.
- Doctors who can prescribe medications to stabilize symptoms.
- Individual therapy that teaches clients how to explore their emotional needs and learn new skills to help deal with their mental health disorder.
- Education, training, social skills, and coping skills to help clients along their unique journey to recovery.
Dual Diagnosis Treatment In Arizona For Mental Health And Addiction
It takes specialized care and knowledge to diagnose what may be a pre-existing mental health disorder and what may be a disorder caused by drugs and alcohol. And it takes time and support to recover from a dual diagnosis. Desert Cove Recovery is an experienced dual diagnosis treatment center in Arizona.
Our staff specialists carry out individualized assessments and create recovery programs that address the complex needs of co-occurring disorders.
For more information about Desert Cove Recovery’s mental health and addiction treatment, contact us today.