Normally when someone is struggling with addiction, they also have an underlying mental illness. They may not even be aware they have it until a therapist diagnoses them. Mental illness and substance abuse tend to go hand-in-hand because you may be abusing drugs to calm down your mental illness symptoms, or you have a mental illness as a result of drug use.

Mental Health and Substance Abuse

Having a mental health issue and abusing drugs can present symptoms that get in the way of functioning at home, school, work, and with people. When a mental health problem goes untreated, substance abuse tends to get worse. When alcohol or drug use increases, mental health problems also increase. Mental illness and substance abuse issues do not get better when they are ignored but worse. With the right support, you can put your life back on track when you conquer your demons and repair strained relationships.

What Comes First

It is hard to tell which comes first as substance abuse does not have to cause a mental illness or the other way around. People with drug or alcohol use problems tend to abuse these substances to ease the symptoms of an undiagnosed mental health condition. Self-medicated with drugs or alcohol can worsen the symptoms you were trying to relieve. If you are at risk for a mental health issue, drugs and alcohol can send you over the edge. It also does not help when alcohol conflicts with mental illness medication like antidepressants, making these medications less effective at managing symptoms and delaying recovery.

Treatment for a Dual Diagnosis

If you have a dual diagnosis, it is important that both substance abuse and mental illness are being treated simultaneously. Treating your mental health problem may involve medication, individualized counseling, lifestyle changes, and peer support. Substance abuse treatment may involve detoxification, managing withdrawal symptoms, behavioral therapy, and support groups for successful sobriety. Make sure that any treatment program you check into treats both addiction and your mental illness. By treating substance abuse and your mental illness, you can increase your chances of successful recovery.

Having a dual diagnosis can be tricky if you are unaware you have a mental illness while tackling substance abuse. You want to make sure that both are being treated to ensure you can function with daily life. Alta Loma understands what obstacles one may face with a dual diagnosis. Luckily at our transformative treatment center in Georgetown, Texas, we have all the tools you need to treat the entire person. We have for you individualized treatment, therapeutic recreational activities, medication management, 12-step programs, and more. Please give us a call at (866) 457-3843 for more information about our services.