It is not uncommon for those struggling with substance use disorders to also experience mental health disorders, and vice versa. One may worsen the symptoms of the other making it more difficult to enter into recovery if both conditions are not treated simultaneously. At Crossroads, we understand this and provide our clients with co-occurring disorders programs, which treat substance use disorders and mental health disorders together to provide positive outcomes and establish lifelong recovery. When clients have a better understanding of the interrelated nature of these conditions, they can equip themselves with effective strategies for managing both.
The Connection Between Substance Use and Mental Health Disorders
It is unclear in many cases which problem developed first – substance use or a mental health disorder. The two share many similarities as each drives the other. The National Alliance on Mental Illness estimates that around one-third of people experiencing mental illness and one half of those with severe mental illnesses also battle substance use. Statistics for those with substance use disorders are strikingly similar with about one-third of those who misuse alcohol and more than half of those who misuse drugs also having a mental illness. Dual diagnosis encompasses those who experience symptoms of mental health and substance use disorders.
It can be hard to differentiate between the two because many people turn to drugs or alcohol as a way of coping with their mental illness, but mental illness can also make them more susceptible to substance use. This vicious cycle can be difficult to overcome, but with comprehensive treatment that addresses the widespread impact of these conditions, recovery is possible. If only one condition is treated but not the other, it can increase risk of relapse because clients are not prepared to cope with the influence of one upon the other. Treating both simultaneously allows clients to develop the strategies necessary for their individual situation.
Understanding Substance Use Disorders
Substance use disorder is a term that can refer to several different types of conditions. It encompasses alcohol use disorders or alcoholism as well as drug use, which includes stimulants, hallucinogens and opiates. Some of these substances are illegal drugs, while others are prescription medications. Just because a medication is prescribed by a doctor does not mean that addiction cannot occur. No one starts using drugs or alcohol with the intention of becoming addicted, but addiction can transpire very quickly and be a tough cycle to break.
The Different Types of Mental Health Disorders
Mental health disorders affect men and women, young and old alike. Different types of mental health disorders exhibit different symptoms and not everyone is affected in exactly the same way. While you cannot control your genetic predisposition or unexpected life events, you can control how you respond when problems arise. Counseling, therapy and medication can help you to deal with the effects of a mental health disorder and live a happier and healthier life.
Anxiety is often characterized by persistent or excessive worry and fear over events that are non-life-threatening. Phobias, panic disorders, generalized anxiety and social anxiety are all forms of anxiety. Symptoms may include being restless, jumpy or apprehensive, fearing the worst, and having an upset stomach, headache, insomnia or rapid heart rate.
Bipolar disorder causes people to feel extreme highs and lows in their mood known as mania and depression. During a manic episode, a person may have a lot of energy, be overly happy or excited, exhibit impulsive behaviors and feel very restless. During a depressive episode, they may be irritable, lethargic, have trouble concentrating and show lack of interest in activities they once enjoyed.
Depression is more than just feeling sad. It interferes with a person’s daily life and makes it more difficult to complete even basic tasks. It can last for weeks or months and lead to problems with sleep, appetite, self-esteem, energy and concentration. People may feel helpless about their life, which can result in suicidal thoughts.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder – PTSD
While many people associate post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to military service, it can also develop because of abuse, serious accidents or natural disasters. People with PTSD may experience flashbacks or persistent thoughts about the event, avoid situations that remind them of it, or remain in a state of hyper-vigilance where they are always on alert and startled easily.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder – OCD
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is characterized by having ongoing obsessions, compulsions, or both types of behavior. Symptoms include arranging and rearranging objects until they are perfect or symmetrical, repeating the same action or phrase a certain number of times, or having an excessive fear of germs. These obsessions and compulsions can be time consuming and anxiety-inducing.
Get Individualized Dual Diagnosis Treatment at Crossroads Today
Crossroads recognizes the challenges that men and women face when dealing with mental health and substance use disorders and offers individualized dual diagnosis treatment. With gender-responsive, trauma-informed approaches to treatment, clients are able to explore the interaction between these two conditions and learn effective strategies of coping with them. The disorders are treated simultaneously through intensive therapy, holistic treatment, wellness services, and more. Men and women are treated separately with a focus on the specific issues that their gender commonly faces.
At Crossroads, clients experience comprehensive care in a safe, serene environment so that they can focus on recovery and remember who they wanted to be.If you or someone you love could benefit from dual diagnosis or co-occurring disorders treatment, contact Crossroads today for more information.