You CAN live a SOBER LIFE again - CALL NOW for treatment options
1-800-259-1361

Dual Diagnosis: Treating Drug Addiction and Mental Illness

 

In the 1980s, population survey data analysis began to show a correlation between drug abuse and mood disorders. More recently, studies quoted by the National Institute on Drug Abuse are clearly showing that those with anxiety or mood disorders are twice as likely to turn to substance abuse. Conversely, Drugabuse.gov states that “people diagnosed with drug disorders are roughly twice as likely to suffer from mood and anxiety disorders.”

The presence of both drug addiction and symptoms of mental illness in the same individual is often referred to as dual diagnosis or comorbidity. Understanding dual diagnosis statistics is essential when approaching the topic of addiction rehabilitation and may even be important when treating mental illness.

Addiction changes the brain in fundamental ways, disturbing a person’s normal hierarchy of needs and desires and substituting new priorities connected with procuring and using the drug. The resulting compulsive behaviors that weaken the ability to control impulses, despite the negative consequences, are similar to hallmarks of other mental illnesses.
Drugabuse.gov

Is Drug Addiction a Mental Illness?

Before looking at mental health and drug abuse as separate drivers of addiction, it is important to note that drug addiction itself is increasingly classified by many professionals and organizations as a mental illness, although some professionals disagree with categorizing it as such. Those that argue that addiction is a mental illness base their theory on research that shows that like other mental illnesses, the behavior of the addiction-affected individual’s brain function and structure is influenced and altered by continued abuse. In fact, as the quote above mentions, many of the same areas of the brain that are impacted by those suffering from depression are also impacted by consistent drug abuse.

Self-Medication

Many people who have developed an addiction started using drugs as a form of self-medication for underlying mental disorders, with depression and anxiety being two of the most common. Addicts who also suffer from mental health problems often seek out drugs as as a way to either temporarily release themselves from situations contributing to their symptoms, or to reduce the impact of uncomfortable amygdala activation in the brain. An overactive amygdala results in many of the symptoms seen in various mental health conditions and depressant drugs like alcohol and opiates help slow down the action of the amygdala. Sadly, self-medicating with a drug that depresses the nervous system can also contribute to and increase other symptoms of emotional disorders. Additionally, these symptoms can be even more severe when impacted by substance withdrawal between uses.

Comorbidity Treatment

According to a 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, it is estimated that close to 3.6% of the US population, or 8.4 million, have both a mental and substance use disorder. However, only 0.5%, or nearly 1.2 million, receive dual diagnosis or comorbidity treatment.

Treating depression or drug abuse on its own rarely solves both issues concurrently. Drug abuse is a complex condition that requires examining a person’s life, their triggers, and symptoms as a whole. Taking a wider approach to wholeness and recovery allows for a more customized treatment plan for each individual. The more individualized the treatment, the better chance a person has to avoid relapse, especially when dealing with dual disorders. Luckily, more drug rehabilitation programs are utilizing a combination of therapies, modalities, and medications that target both existing and developed mental health conditions, as well as the symptoms and causes of drug abuse. These comprehensive treatment methods continue to significantly increase the success rates of addiction rehabilitation and recovery across the nation.

Are you or someone you love suffering from an addiction and a mental illness? Call our Addiction Advisors for the guidance you’re looking for: 1-800-259-1361

Related Articles

What to Avoid to Maintain Long-Term Recovery Complacency is the biggest pitfall in the pursuit of both long-term sobriety and recovery. It’s a point at which we stop growing, seeking new challenges, actively learning, and/or healing. To allow st...
Drugs and Prison, What Can Be Done to Change the Statistics? There is an undeniable link between crime and substance abuse. Drugs are directly or indirectly responsible for many types of crime. Even when crimes are not explicitly substance-related, a high perce...
Drug and Alcohol Addiction Stats in the US and World Surveys of American teenagers and those who live in other countries throughout the world have proven that there are dramatic differences between the two groups regarding drug and alcohol addiction. Th...
10 Best Movies About Drug Addiction When you’re in recovery from or drug addiction, you want to feed your soul things that nourish and inspire you. A great way to be encouraged in your recovery and be entertained at the same time is to ...
Lindsay Lohan’s Dad: ‘I Feel Responsible for Lindsay’s Addiction’ In a recent interview with The Addiction Advisor, actress Lindsay Lohan’s dad, Michael Lohan, said he feels responsible for his daughter’s drug addiction. “People ask me all the time, ‘do I feel re...
Meditation and Recovery: Does it Help? It’s easier than you may think to become addicted to certain things. Whether it’s food, porn, alcohol, or drugs, addiction is something that can really wreak havoc in your life. Now, many addictions d...
Addicted to Love: The Do’s and Don’ts of Loving an Addict Step right up, folks! It’s the scariest coaster in the park. Enter if you dare. And mark my words--by the time it’s over, you won’t know up from down! You are in love with an addict and, as a resul...
Addressing Patterns of Isolation in Addicts It is an absolute human certainty that no one can know his own beauty or perceive a sense of his own worth until it has been reflected back to him in the mirror of another loving, caring human being. ...
Being Married to an Addict In 2010, I was living with my mom, my stepdad, and my 5-year-old son, and I needed a job not only to support my son, but to help pay for the bills and to drink alcohol. My mom actually recommended tha...
What Your Teens Don’t Want You to Know With convenient access to the Internet and social media, parents should at least assume that their teens are being exposed to daily pressures when it comes to using various substances, ranging from il...
How I Practice Self-Empowering Addiction Treatment Here are five practical techniques that I use in my Life Process Program, which follows an empowerment model as opposed to a disease approach for addiction treatment. Empowerment All of psyc...
CDC Urges Limit on Prescriptions to Opioid Drugs Following a rise in lethal overdoses caused by heroin and prescription opioid drugs, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released recommendations in late 2015 urging physicians to use...