During the past few years, there has been a tremendous amount of attention paid to mental health issues and addiction, specifically substance abuse disorders. Even though these issues are frequently addressed independently, they actually go together. It is important for people to understand how mental health and addiction disorders can relate. What do people need to know about the relationship between mental health and addiction disorders, and what should you do if you or someone you know needs help? Learn more about the relationship between mental health, and be sure to find out more about addiction treatment options in the local area.
Co-Occurring Disorders: What This Means
A co-occurring disorder, also called dual diagnosis, is when someone is struggling with a substance use disorder and a mental health disorder at the same time. Co-occurring disorders can be any combination of substance use and mental health disorder. For example, someone who suffers from depression could simultaneously suffer from alcohol abuse disorder. Or, someone who has an anxiety disorder could also struggle with opioid use disorder. When co-occurring disorders are diagnosed by a treatment provider, it is important to address and treat them both.
Notably, while mental health disorders and substance use disorders can co-occur, that does not necessarily mean that one caused the other. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, research suggests three reasons for co-occurring disorders:
- Genetic and environmental risk factors
- Self-medication for mental disorders
- Drug-induced mental health disorders
In the treatment community, some believe it is necessary to treat underlying mental health conditions before addressing addiction. There are others who believe it is important to treat substance abuse disorders before addressing other mental health diagnoses. Because the two go together, many believe it is important to treat them at the same time. It is important to understand how they relate to one another to help people take the first steps towards recovery.
Underlying Mental Health Disorders Can Play a Role in Addiction When Not Treated Properly
If someone is struggling with an underlying mental health issue, it can play a role in the development of addiction if it is not treated properly or promptly.
One example to highlight is that people who suffer from substance abuse and addiction issues often start by self-medicating other problems. For example, individuals with chronic pain may have a difficult time controlling their discomfort. If they feel like their treatment plan is not effective, they may decide to turn to other options, such as opioids. This can lead to addiction and substance abuse issues, which can spiral over time.
Or, someone who is struggling with their mental health may turn to drugs as a form of temporary relief. Unfortunately, this too can lead to the development of substance abuse issues that can further aggravate existing mental health disorders, causing a vicious cycle.
For all of these reasons, it is important for people who struggle with mental health to reach out to a professional who can develop a treatment plan that addresses their needs. When people decide to self-medicate, they may expose themselves to unwanted complications and side effects. One of the biggest examples is the development of substance abuse and addiction issues, which can have an impact not only on their physical health but also on their relationships with their family and friends.
The Most Effective Addiction Treatment Is MAT Plus Counseling
With so many people looking for help with substance abuse and addiction disorders, it is important to note that the most effective form of treatment is medication-assisted treatment (MAT) combined with counseling. When someone who has co-occurring disorders starts the substance abuse treatment process, the mental health symptoms could become more obvious.
Often, people who suffer from addiction issues are self-medicating to treat an underlying mental health issue. When they no longer have access to addictive substances, the underlying mental health issues may start to surface, and it is important to make sure they are addressed appropriately. Without self-medication, symptoms can return, and it is important to make sure people with co-occurring disorders have access to mental health treatment as well as substance abuse treatment.
There are multiple types of mental health treatment available. Some of the most popular options include:
- Individual Counseling: Individual counseling provides people with access to a customized treatment plan that has been tailored to meet their needs.
- Group Therapy: Group therapy allows people to learn from the experiences of others. They can connect with other people who suffer from mental health and substance abuse issues, and they may be able to apply ideas from their success stories. People enrolled in group counseling often meet with the counselor individually as well.
- Psychiatry Services: Psychiatry services can help people make sure they have access to all types of therapy and medication-assisted treatment that could prove helpful.
These are just a few examples of numerous types of treatment that can be helpful for someone with a mental health disorder. When mental illness and addiction combine, it is especially important to have access to a well-rounded treatment plan that can address this issue from multiple directions.
MATClinics offers treatment for Co-Occurring Addiction and Mental Health Disorders
If you or someone you know is looking for help with addiction and mental health issues, it is critical to treat the entire person, not just the disorder. MATClinics offers comprehensive treatment for substance abuse and mental health issues. We have multiple treatment options available, and we can customize them to meet your needs. Contact us today to speak to a member of our team.