Addiction is a mental health condition that requires professional treatment. You’re likely already familiar with the idea that many people with an addiction need to seek inpatient or outpatient care to learn how to stop using drugs or alcohol. The majority of people who seek treatment for their addiction will also move on to ongoing care options such as group therapy and sober living to continue their recovery.
While addiction affects your mental and physical health, you may also need to explore the possibility that other factors influence your need to use drugs or alcohol. Mental health conditions often accompany addiction and seeing how these issues are intertwined makes it possible for you to get a comprehensive treatment plan that helps you maintain your sobriety and prevent relapse.
What Is the Connection Between Mental Health and Substance Abuse?
Having a mental health condition increases your risk for misusing substances. People with depression and other underlying mental health conditions sometimes attempt to use drugs to self-medicate their symptoms. For example, someone with severe anxiety may use drugs in an effort to feel calmer, or someone with severe fatigue may self-medicate with a substance that makes them feel like they have more energy. The problem with self-medicating is that it only temporarily relieves your symptoms. In some cases, it can make your underlying mental health condition’s symptoms more extreme.
Does Substance Misuse Make Co-Occurring Disorders Worse?
The link between mental health and substance abuse becomes even clearer when you look at how self-medicating impacts your brain. Certain substances, such as psychedelics, can increase your risk of developing mental health conditions such as schizophrenia. Opioids are associated with worsening symptoms of depression since they suppress your nervous system and impact your brain’s reward center. Alcohol abuse can increase the symptoms of anxiety in people with obsessive compulsive disorder and PTSD.
You may also notice the symptoms of a mental health condition increasing as you go through withdrawal. Identifying and treating your mental health conditions in a safe way makes it easier to avoid having substance abuse negatively impact your wellbeing.
What Are Signs You Need Help With Addiction and Mental Health Issues?
Often, looking for signs that you have an addiction can help you see if you need to seek professional assistance to figure out if you have more than one thing affecting your behavior. If you have an addiction, you may notice that you need to use more of a drug or alcohol to feel the same effects as you did in the past. You might also feel a sense of guilt about using drugs or alcohol, which might have caused you to quit or cut back without finding success.
The signs of addiction and mental health issues can also show up in your personal life. Both of these conditions can cause you to struggle with relationships. Other people may note your erratic behavior and get upset when you don’t live up to their expectations. You also might struggle at work if you have depression and addiction that limits your productivity. Seeking mental health treatment helps you to begin finding ways to solve all of these problems.
How Do You Know If You Have Co-Existing Mental Health Conditions?
You might have already noticed that you drink more than other people seem to, or you might realize that you can’t stop using drugs without having noticeable withdrawal symptoms. Yet, it is sometimes harder to figure out if you have a mental health disorder affecting your addiction. Asking yourself these questions can help you start thinking more about the possible need for dual diagnosis treatment.
- Do you turn to alcohol or drugs to deal with difficult situations such as a problem at work?
- Have you noticed that you feel worse the day after using drugs or alcohol?
- Do you have a family member with a mental health condition or an addiction?
- Have you ever been diagnosed or treated for a mental health condition?
What Is Dual Diagnosis Treatment?
People with co-occurring disorders and an addiction benefit from what you’ll hear other people refer to as dual diagnosis treatment. This simply means that your treatment plan will include counseling and different strategies that help you heal from both conditions at once. A dual diagnosis treatment plan could consist of medication or behavioral therapy strategies to manage your mental health condition symptoms. It’s easier to avoid self-medicating with drugs or alcohol. Choosing dual diagnosis treatment gives you a better foundation for recovering from your addiction since you’ll feel calmer and ready to face new challenges when they come your way.
Sobriety requires you to take a look at your overall mental health. Depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions are common among people who struggle with substance abuse. Each of these conditions can increase your risk of developing a substance abuse disorder, and using drugs and alcohol can make these conditions worse. Working with a team of counselors, physicians, and sober mentors makes it possible to treat all of your underlying mental health conditions so that you can embrace a healthier and happier lifestyle.
Treatment at Momentum Recovery
At Momentum Recovery, we understand that a primary treatment program is a step towards a life free of addiction and are committed to getting you where you want to go. If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, contact us today so we can find a personalized treatment plan that meets your needs.