Mental Health and Substance Addiction – A Detailed Look At Treatment Options


Have you ever wondered what comes first between mental health issues and substance abuse? Many have argued that some individuals become addicted to drugs and alcohol because of mental health problems. On the other hand, there are also some who have countered that people who have substance addictions develop mental health issues and behavioral concerns.

The truth is – both arguments are either right or wrong. As it happens, both mental health and substance addiction have close links with each other. However, it does not necessarily mean that one directly causes the other. This is why when a person has both of these problems, the diagnosis is called a “co-occurring disorder” or “dual diagnosis.”

The link between mental health and substance abuse

People who suffer from both mental health and addiction problems are suffering from a co-occurring disorder. Both maladies have distinct symptoms that deteriorate one’s functionality. So, in a way, it disrupts the overall quality of life as it hampers almost all aspects of one’s day-to-day living.

While they may have their unique symptoms and effects, unfortunately, co-occurring disorders also affect each other, and it makes things more complicated. If left untreated, it usually gets worse.

But, a dual diagnosis has become all too common today. So, if you are suffering from it, there is no need to be afraid. Nevertheless, keep in mind that it is not normal for one to have co-occurring disorders.

Treatment for your mental health problem

In a dual diagnosis treatment, the most common mental health problems include depression, eating disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, schizophrenia, bipolar, and borderline personality disorder.

While co-occurring disorders require different treatments, experts said that it is helpful to tackle the underlying problems little by little. In treating mental health concerns, these are some helpful points:

        ◦ Medication

In treating a mental health disorder, experts almost always recommend medication. However, it may become quite tricky for some, especially if the co-occurring disorder centers on drug abuse. This is why it is not advisable to self-medicate.

Make sure to ask guidance from the right persons. Consult with mental health experts as they know what the right steps are when it comes to the aspect of medication.

        ◦ Individual or group counseling

Whether it is individual or group counseling, this process helps treat mental health problems. There are some individuals who prefer one from the other type of counseling as it works for them. But, if you are not certain which one fits your needs, try both types of counseling and check what works best on your end.

You may also ask experts around for advice regarding this. In most cases, they know what to recommend due to the number of cases that they have already handled.

        ◦ Lifestyle changes

Lifestyle largely affects the physical, mental, and emotional health. This is why specialists and experts recommend patients to incorporate changes in their respective lifestyles.

If you are suffering from mental health disorders, get to know what your trigger points are. Usually, this is the first step toward recovery and treatment for the underlying disorder.

Sometimes, a little tweak in your sleeping schedules, eating habits, and daily routines can already transform your life and end the battle with mental health issues.

Treatment for your substance abuse

There is no cure for substance addiction. But, treatments are available to help individuals overcome their addiction. Keep in mind, though, that treatments vary depending on several factors. It is a case-to-case basis, and specialists will advise you on the right steps for your treatment.

        ◦ Behavioral therapy

Behavioral therapy is a form of psychotherapy that a psychologist or psychiatrist administers. Licensed alcohol and drug counselors may also spearhead the program.

The therapy, alongside the counseling, may fall in the form of individual or group sessions. During these times, productive engagements and conversations are apparent to help patients overcome the “cravings.”

        ◦ Detoxification

Detoxification is simply a withdrawal therapy. The program will help patients to “detox” themselves from their respective substance addictions.

This type of therapy, though, is not normally done as an outpatient. Admission to rehabilitation centers or treatment homes is much more recommended, so finding a drug detox center near you will be necessary.

        ◦ Self-help groups

Self-help groups are another helpful treatment for patients to overcome addiction. Most groups reportedly use the 12-step model to help individuals withdraw from their respective addictions.

Attending into one can decrease isolation that leads to relapses. So, the risk of using substances again after withdrawing from it decreases, as well.

        ◦ Recovery or rehab centers

Recovery and rehab centers may help treat substance abuse. In a way, this is also a form of detoxification as it prohibits the usage of the substances.

But, in most cases, recovery and rehab centers are mainly for, well, recovery. This means after withdrawing from the addiction, one gets into rehabilitation to fully recover and heal. There are various methods used in rehabs. A popular option to treat opioid dependency is in the form of methadone clinics that use the FDA-approved methadone drug to treat addiction. Locating methadone treatment can be done online via a locator tool.

Final Thoughts

Co-occurring disorders or dual diagnosis is not an easy thing to treat. If you know someone who suffers from it, make sure that you give them the support and care that they need. As much as possible, help them in the process, especially if it involves your loved ones.

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