There is a strong link between mental illness and addiction. People often use drugs and alcohol to cope with mental illness, or develop mental health problems after experiencing harmful side-effects from drugs. Although substance abuse may offer a temporary escape from problems, drugs disrupt people’s chemical balance, exacerbating existing mental health problems and creating unforeseen psychological problems.
A dual diagnosis addresses both mental illness and addiction problems. Here are some of the most common dual-diagnosis combinations:
Depression and Alcohol
About one-third of the people that suffer from depression have an alcohol problem. Drinking gives people a feeling of giddiness and momentary relief from depression. However, because alcohol is a powerful depressant it actually makes people feel more depressed, and not just because of the massive hangover. People also act more impulsively while drunk, often engaging in dangerous activities and forsaking important obligations while drinking or hungover. Regret from drinking only deepens depression.
Social Anxiety, Stimulants, and Alcohol
People with social anxiety have a difficult time presenting themselves the way they want people to perceive them. Instead of working on the underlying issues of social anxiety, many people use alcohol and party drugs like cocaine to become more talkative and social. Alcohol and stimulants lower people’s inhibitions, making people with social anxiety more confident and impulsive— potentially leading to unprotected sex and other dangerous activities. People with social anxiety often become increasingly dependent on stimulants and alcohol for “liquid courage,” making social anxiety in sober settings far more challenging. The only way people can overcome social anxiety is to confront their problems head-on, completely sober.
Bipolar Disorder and Alcohol
Nearly half the people diagnosed with bipolar disorder also need alcoholism rehab. People who have bipolar disorder often turn to alcohol in an attempt to manage manic behavior or replicate feelings of euphoric mania. When people experience both bipolar disorder and alcohol addiction their problems become magnified and even less manageable.
Anxiety and Benzodiazepines
Many people are prescribed Benzodiazepines like Xanax to manage anxiety. While Benzodiazepines can help people function better in everyday life, they can also be extremely addictive. People often get in the habit of popping a Xanax even in low stress situations. Taking Xanax more than prescribed makes obligations like school, work, and driving more difficult because of its severe side-effects, including brain fog, impaired coordination, and fatigue. Although many people take Xanax to improve function, a Xanax addiction can do the exact opposite by making life even more difficult to handle.
PTSD and Substance Abuse
Many people with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) will do almost anything to forget the sharp pain of a traumatizing experience. The more emotionally unstable a person is, the more susceptible they are to drug and alcohol addiction. While alcohol or drugs may temporarily make PTSD sufferers forget trauma, the pain will still be there the next morning. Only with proper treatment can people with PTSD deal with the trauma and finally move on with their lives.
Almost anyone can become addicted to drugs and alcohol. All it takes is emotional turmoil and the opportunity for a temporary escape. In the moment it’s difficult to focus on anything but immediate relief from the pain, but the pain will persist and become even more unbearable without proper dual diagnosis treatment.
Mental Illness and Addiction at Morningside Recovery
At Morningside Recovery, we understand the complex relationship between addiction and mental illness, which is why we offer many dual diagnosis programs to help our clients. Some of these specific programs include:
To learn more about our programs and our facility, call us today at 855-631-2135. Don’t let addiction and mental illness control your life for another day.