Drug Addiction Riding Behind Mental Illness

Experts have researched mental health disorders and drug addictions throughout the years.  Individuals who suffers from a substance use disorder and mental health disorder is known as co-occurring disorder. The other term to describe this disorder is dual diagnosis. Mental health or substance abuse issues can occur at different times in a person’s life. It is relatively common for individuals dealing with mental health problems to explore ways to self medicate in hopes of fixing or changing mental health symptoms related to their personal experiences. Self-medication can be dangerous when using alcohol or other drugs in excess to reduce mental health symptoms. Comorbidity conditions are common, and the existence of significant mental illness or medical diagnosis can contribute to other conditions. For example, schizophrenia is linked to the presence of depression and anxiety. Individuals who have a major depressive disorder may experience other conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder, physical illness, or substance abuse disorder. 

Depression and anxiety are two common conditions that contributes to an increase of co-occurring behavioral patterns. The connection between mental health illnesses and substance use disorders shows an increase in mental health symptoms causing the development of co-occurring behavioral patterns. According to a 2014 National Survey on Drugs and Health, 7.9 million people experience both a substance use disorder and mental health disorder. To be exact 4.1 million of those people are men. Symptoms may vary due to the wide range of combinations of mental health illnesses and substance use problems. An individual may experience issues with lack of concentration, isolation, avoidance, mood instability, risky behavior, dependency, and tolerance to elicit, legal, and prescription drugs. A high percentage of those suffering from co-occurring behavioral patterns display symptoms of suicidal thoughts. 

Mental health and substance abuse is addressed utilizing different evidence-based practices geared to change the behavior and the thought process that creates situations that bleeds co-occurring behavioral patterns. To support those through interventions treatment must be provided to address both issues head-on. It is essential as the mental health professional and client to understand how both disorders impact the other and what forms of treatment is best for them to achieve success. Types of treatment may include detoxification, inpatient rehabilitation, supportive housing, psychotherapy, medications, self-help and support groups. Therapy is a significant part of an individual’s treatment plan that offers cognitive behavior therapy (CBT). CBT teaches skills and techniques to develop coping skills driven to change maladaptive thinking patterns. Medications are used to address the mental health and withdrawal symptoms to promote a successful outcome during the process of detoxification. There are other forms of evidence-based practices According to the National Institute of on Drug Abuse, (NIH,2018 ) states: 

Mental health and substance abuse is addressed utilizing different evidence-based practices geared to change the behavior and the thought process that creates situations that bleeds co-occurring behavioral patterns. To support those through interventions treatment must be provided to address both issues head-on. It is essential as the mental health professional and client to understand how both disorders impact the other and what forms of treatment is best for them to achieve success. Types of treatment may include detoxification, inpatient rehabilitation, supportive housing, psychotherapy, medications, self-help and support groups. Therapy is a significant part of an individual’s treatment plan that offers cognitive behavior therapy (CBT). CBT teaches skills and techniques to develop coping skills driven to change maladaptive thinking patterns. Medications are used to address the mental health and withdrawal symptoms to promote a successful outcome during the process of detoxification. There are other forms of evidence-based practices According to the National Institute of on Drug Abuse, (NIH,2018 ) states: 

“Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) helps to change harmful beliefs and behaviors. Dialectical   behavioral therapy (DBT) was designed specifically to reduce self-harm behaviors including suicide,  attempts, thoughts or urges; cutting; and drug use. Assertive community treatment (ACT)   emphasizes outreach to the community and an individualized approach to treatment. Therapeutic   communities (TC) are a common form of long-term residential treatment that focuses on the  “resocialization” of the person. Contingency management (CM) gives vouchers or rewards to people who practice healthy behaviors.” 

Addiction can be either mild, moderate or severe causing physical and psychological dependency on the drug of choice. There is no one cause of addiction or mental health problems. However, both factors may be at the root of the development of the other. Many factors can contribute to the development of a dual diagnosis. For example: trauma, biology, genetics, environment, and experiences in life can increase one’s chances to development both disorders.  

          Regardless of the combination of mental health issues or substance use disorders, it is recommended to change lifestyle choices that contribute to life-threatening issues. Some health issues that can occur is diabetes, heart disease, obesity, smoking, and asthma. The process of treatment is different for each individual and should be adjusted accordingly to the needs of the individual receiving services. Some factors that may be addressed to assist someone dealing with a dual diagnosis in treatment is as follows: sleep improvement, medication management, communication, maintaining relationships, identifying chronic medical issues, behavioral and nutritional management, employment-related matters, and legal problems. 

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