Medications And Housing Are Useful For Treating Mental Illness
Certain medications can also help people experiencing substance use disorders ease withdrawal symptoms during the detoxification process.
Supportive Housing, like group homes or sober houses, are residential treatment centers that may help people who are newly sober or trying to avoid relapse. Sober homes have been criticized for offering varying levels of quality care because licensed professionals do not typically run them. Please do some research before making a selection.
Mental Health And Substance Misuse
Scientists have long made the link between mental health issues and substance misuse. In fact, the co-existence of both is referred to as co-occurring disorders.
According to the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health , 9.5 million adults over the age of 18 had co-occurring disorders . This is an increase from 9.2 million in 2018.
Stigma Language And Mental Health
Research has demonstrated that stigma creates obstacles to seeking treatment for substance use disorders or mental illness and leads to negative health outcomes. A group of leaders from the National Institutes of Health define stigma as negative attitudes toward people that are based on certain distinguishing characteristics.
Neuropsychopharmacology is the official publication of the American College of Neuropsychopharmacology and an international scientific journal. In a perspective published in this journal, this same group of leaders from the National Institutes of Health discusses how the use of appropriate language to describe addiction and mental illness can contribute to a decrease in stigma and provide improvement to how these individuals are treated in society and in healthcare settings.
Almost 90% of individuals with substance use disorders and 35% with a serious mental illness dont receive treatment. The attribute this treatment-averse mindset to stigma-related bias among clinicians.
Experiencing stigma may lead to internalizing this mindset. And with self-stigma, this can further lead to low self-worth and low self-esteem. Neither is helpful to an individual battling a substance use disorder, an alcohol use disorder, or facing a mental illness.
Wordswhether written or verbally communicatedhave the power to influence thoughts, behavior, and even transformation.
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Drug Use And The Pandemic
Drug use of itself had increased during the pandemic. One of the reasons was people were looking for something to do and boredom had increased. Especially when they were faced with the situation of having to stay home.
Whether they had developed a mental illness beforehand or not, they used drugs as a coping mechanism. Not to be outdone, this also coincided with the opioid epidemic that has already claimed the lives of thousands of people over the course of a decade.
Some people have no way to relieve their stress that is brought on from the pandemic. Drugs and alcohol were considered to be the coping mechanisms of choice as opposed to therapy or other alternative methods. If they are by themselves, they are likely to die from a drug overdose because no one else will be around to dial 911 or even administer Narcan.
Those who are living alone are more at risk to die from a drug overdose. Not only that, with no one in their immediate vicinity like family members or a roommate, they may feel the impact of having no one to talk to.
This can even be the worst position to be in when you need someone to talk to due to a mental disorder or dealing with personal trauma. However, the use of currently existing technology may be useful in a time when people may find themselves isolated.
How Drugs Change The Brain
Addiction is considered a chronic, relapsing, complex brain disorder.Its characterized by compulsive substance-seeking and continued use despite damaging consequences.5, 6
Drugs change the chemical makeup and functioning of the brain in significant ways. For example, they can change how a person behaves and weaken their ability to control impulses.2
This occurs because addictive drugs target the brains reward center, basal ganglia. The drugs flood the striatum with the feel-good endorphin, dopamine.5, 6
Dopamine regulates emotion, cognition, and motivation. It also reinforces rewarding behaviors, which drives people to use drugs more often.5
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Tip : Manage Stress And Emotions
Learn how to manage stress. Drug and alcohol abuse often stems from misguided attempts to manage stress. Stress is an inevitable part of life, so its important to have healthy coping skills so you can deal with stress without turning to alcohol or drugs. Stress management skills go a long way towards preventing relapse and keeping your symptoms at bay.
Cope with unpleasant feelings. Many people turn to alcohol or drugs to cover up painful memories and emotions such as loneliness, depression, or anxiety. You may feel like doing drugs is the only way to handle unpleasant feelings, but HelpGuides free Emotional Intelligence Toolkit can teach you how to cope with difficult emotions without falling back on your addiction.
Know your triggers and have an action plan. When youre coping with a mental disorder as well as a substance abuse problem, its especially important to know signs that your illness is flaring up. Common causes include stressful events, big life changes, or unhealthy sleeping or eating patterns. At these times, having a plan in place is essential to preventing a drink or drug relapse. Who will you talk to? What do you need to do to avoid slipping?
How To Identify A Co
Co-occurring disorders can occur for a number of reasons, such as:1, 3, 11
- Common risk factors. Certain factors, such as genetics or environmental issues like stress and trauma, can play a role in the development of addiction and mental health disorders.
- Mental disorders can impact addiction. As mentioned above, people who have mental illnesses may rely on substances to self-medicate, or ease, their symptoms. Brain changes that occur in certain mental illnesses may increase the rewarding feelings associated with substance use.
- Substance use and addiction can impact mental disorders. People who abuse substances can suffer from brain changes that may increase their chances of developing a mental disorder.
- Biological factors. Underlying medical problems or certain chemical imbalances in the brain can affect the development of addiction or mental illness.
Addiction isnt always easy to spot, but there are certain behavioral, physical, and social changes that can indicate the presence of a problem. Signs of substance abuse can vary by substance and the individual. Common signs and symptoms can include:12
- Frequently missing work or school.
- Frequent fights, accidents, or problems with the law or other authorities.
- Secretive or strange behaviors.
- Mood swings, irritability, or angry outbursts.
- Low motivation.
- Seeming paranoid for no reason.
- Bloodshot eyes.
- Unexplained bodily aches and pains.
- Inability to handle daily life stresses.
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Helping A Loved One With A Dual Diagnosis
Helping someone with both a substance abuse and a mental health problem can be a roller coaster. Resistance to treatment is common and the road to recovery can be long.
The best way to help someone is to accept what you can and cannot do. You cannot force someone to remain sober, nor can you make someone take their medication or keep appointments. What you can do is make positive choices for yourself, encourage your loved one to get help, and offer your support while making sure you dont lose yourself in the process.
Get more help
Co-Occurring: Mental Health and Substance Abuse Advice and help for individuals with co-occurring disorders and their loved ones.
Comorbidity: Addiction and Other Mental Illnesses The link between substance abuse and mental health.
Substance Use Disorders The relationship between anxiety and substance use.
Mental Health Disorders and Teen Substance Use Why its especially risky for kids with emotional or behavioral challenges to drink or use drugs.
Helplines and support groups
UK: Call the SANEline at 07984 967 708.
Australia: Call the Sane Helpline at 1800 187 263.
Canada: Visit Mood Disorders Society of Canada for links to provincial helplines.
India: Call the Vandrevala Foundation Helpline at 1860 2662 345.
Why Addiction And Mental Illness Co
Even though there is a high rate of comorbidity between addiction and mental illness, it does not mean that one necessarily caused the othereven if one condition appeared first. Instead, there are still a number of factors that need to be considered, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. For instance:
- Drug abuse can cause people to experience one or more symptoms of another mental illness. For example, there is an increased risk of psychosis in some marijuana users.
- Mental disorders can lead to drug or alcohol abuse because some people use substances to self-medicate. For instance, the nicotine in tobacco products sometimes lessen certain symptoms of schizophrenia and may improve cognition.
There also is some evidence that indicates that addictions and mental illnesses are caused by underlying brain deficits, genetic influences, and/or exposure to trauma early in life. For instance, it is estimated that 40 to 60 percent of a person’s vulnerability to addiction can be attributed to genetics. There also are several regions of the human genome that have been linked to an increased risk both for substance abuse and mental illness.
Some studies suggest that half of all veterans diagnosed with PTSD also have a co-occurring substance abuse problem.
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Tip : Make Healthy Lifestyle Changes
Exercise regularly.Exercise is a natural way to bust stress, relieve anxiety, and improve your mood and outlook. To achieve the maximum benefit, aim for at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise on most days.
Practice relaxation techniques. When practiced regularly, relaxation techniques such as mindfulness meditation, progressive muscle relaxation, and deep breathing can reduce symptoms of stress, anxiety, and depression, and increase feelings of relaxation and emotional well-being.
Adopt healthy eating habits. Start the day right with breakfast, and continue with frequent small meals throughout the day. Going too long without eating leads to low blood sugar, which can make you feel more stressed or anxious. Getting enough healthy fats in your diet can help to boost your mood.
Get enough sleep. A lack of sleep can exacerbate stress, anxiety, and depression, so try to get 7 to 9 hours of quality sleep a night.
Mental Health And Substance Abuse
If you or someone you care about is struggling with addiction, there are some very important facts you should know about the effects of drugs and alcohol on mental health. This guide is designed to inform people who are currently suffering from addiction, as well as people who know someone suffering from addiction, about how substance abuse and addiction affect the brain, the mental health effects of drugs and alcohol, and how to take steps towards recovery. But first, let us get some more information on what a person can look like when they are struggling with addiction.
If you are reading this guide for yourself and are wondering if you really have a substance abuse problem, ask yourself the following questions:
- Do you keep taking a drug after it is no longer needed for a health problem?
- Do you need more and more of a substance to get the same effects?
- Do you feel strange when the alcohol or drugs wear off?
- Do you feel like you cant stop yourself from using a substance? Even when you want to? Even when its making bad things happen in your life like trouble with friends, family, work or the law?
- Do you spend a lot of time thinking about the substance? How to get more and how much better youll feel after you get it?
- Have you lost interest in things you like to do and have trouble engaging in normal activities?
Now that we are more familiar with what a person struggling with an addiction looks like on the outside, let us look at what is happening on the inside.
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Is Substance Abuse A Mental Health Issue
Yes, drug addiction is a mental health issue. Alcohol addiction is a mental health issue. All Addictions are mental health issues. Often substance abuse disorder is a co-occurring disorder with another mental health diagnosis. National Mental Health Alliance defines a co-occurring disorder as a substance use disorder that coincides with individuals with mental illness.
Is Drug Addiction A Mental Illness
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse drug addiction is classified as a mental illness because addiction changes the brain in fundamental ways, disturbing a persons normal hierarchy of needs and desires, and substituting new priorities connected with procuring and using drugs. The resulting compulsive behaviors that override the ability to control impulses despite the consequences are similar to hallmarks of other mental illnesses.
In fact, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders , which is the definitive resource of diagnostic criteria for all mental disorders, includes criteria for drug use disorders, distinguishing between two types: drug abuse and drug dependence. Drug dependence is synonymous with addiction. By comparison, the criteria for drug abuse hinges on the harmful consequences of repeated use but does not include the compulsive use, tolerance , or withdrawal that can be signs of addiction.
One of the brain areas still maturing during adolescence is the prefrontal cortex the part of the brain that enables us to assess situations, make sound decisions, and keep our emotions and desires under control. The fact that this critical part of an adolescents brain is still a work in progress puts them at increased risk for poor decision making . Thus, introducing drugs while the brain is still developing may have profound and long-lasting consequences.
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Drugs And Mental Health
Its common for society to dismiss drug abuse as a character flaw or loss of impulse control. There is a long-standing stigma associated with addiction, as many chalks it up to a simple inability to just say no. When we carefully examine the close link between drugs and mental health, we can start to uncover how substance abuse not only impacts a persons health, but can quite literally change how a person thinks, behaves, and perceives life. In fact, the two are so interwoven that its sometimes difficult to ascertain whether drug abuse is a result of mental health issues, or mental health develops from ongoing drug use. Of course, the answer is not clear-cut. There are certainly correlations, but lets explore more.
There are numerous reasons why people choose to do drugs. In looking at the link between drugs and mental health we can clearly see that rates of substance abuse are higher among individuals currently battling with an existing co-occurring disorder. Anxiety, depression, and PTSD rank among the most common mental health problems in America, and many suffering are turning toward drugs for relief.
If you or someone you know is battling with mental health issues and drug abuse, its important to seek help. AspenRidge Recovery has designed programs to address comorbidity of substance abuse and mental health, and provide the support that aims for long-term sobriety. Contact us today to learn more at.
Treatment For A Dual Diagnosis
The best treatment for co-occurring disorders is an integrated approach, where both the substance abuse problem and the mental disorder are treated simultaneously. Whether your mental health or substance abuse problem came first, long-term recovery depends on getting treatment for both disorders by the same treatment provider or team. Depending on your specific issues:
Treatment for your mental health problem may include medication, individual or group counseling, self-help measures, lifestyle changes, and peer support.
Treatment for your substance abuse may include detoxification, managing of withdrawal symptoms, behavioral therapy, and support groups to help maintain your sobriety.
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Experiencing Addiction And Mental Health
When people are suffering from an existing mental health condition, they are more prone to using drugs to help them self-medicate. This self-medication provides people with temporary relief from any issues that they are experiencing, but their use can quickly escalate and worsen an existing mental health condition.
Methamphetamine is a very addictive drug that is often used to increase the brains levels of serotonin and dopamine, otherwise known as chemicals that make you feel happy. Methamphetamine is a drug that is often used as self-medication due to the temporary high that is felt after use.
The feelings that people experience after using methamphetamine cause them to become addicted as they constantly look for the same high. That is one of the reasons why it is a drug that is often associated with existing mental health conditions, as it can provide people with temporary relief, but it ends up worsening their mental health and physical health.
Get Help For A Dual Diagnosis
While some individuals develop an addiction to drugs or alcohol before being diagnosed with a mental illness, others become addicted afterward. Whichever happened first, its paramount to find a tailored treatment plan that targets both disorders simultaneously rather than a plan that treats them separately. In the case of a dual diagnosis, the structured and safe environment of an inpatient rehab center can be extremely beneficial.
Going to inpatient rehab for a co-occurring disorder is ideal because of the high level of attention and care that patients receive. Oftentimes, people with co-occurring disorders arrive at rehab in various states of distress and poor general health. The combination of extensive substance abuse and a neglected mental condition generally requires the help of both mental health and addiction professionals.
Featured Centers Offering Dual Diagnosis Treatment
When deciding on a rehab center, choose one that specializes in you or your loved ones type of addiction and co-occurring disorder. Doing so will ensure the most effective care as well as the greatest potential for a full recovery.
Ask the following questions to help you make an easier and more informed decision:
1. Do you offer individualized treatment plans for all residents?
2. Is therapy structured to treat a dual diagnosis?
3. Will I or my loved one be evaluated by a licensed psychiatric professional or physician before admission?
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