When a person has become addicted to drugs or alcohol, their entire mind, body and spirit are affected by the substance. In particular, the brain can be tied to an addiction before or after the substance abuse has begun. In either case, there is help for anyone willing to take the first step and admit they have a problem. In this post we go into the connection between mental health and addiction
Addictions that Stem from Mental Illness
A large percentage of addicts have an underlying mental illness that may or may not have been diagnosed in the past. Often, especially in adolescents, mental illnesses are dismissed as personality traits and can go untreated for years. A person suffering from anxiety may just be said to worry a lot or a person with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) may just seem to be particular about certain aspects of their life. When untreated mental disorder symptoms worsen, an individual of any age may turn to drugs or alcohol as a way to escape those side effects. Self-medication of this type can easily lead to addiction, compounding the problems a person has in their life. No matter what the situation, there is help available.
Dual diagnosis is the medical term for someone suffering from both an addiction and a mental disorder. Co-existing disorders can come in many combinations, some more frequent than others. For example, depression and alcohol are a mental disorder and substance addiction that are often found together in a patient. Addiction and mental illness can never be described as something positive, however, after years of research, co-occurring disorders are now receiving special attention from the medical community and if there was ever a good time to be a dual diagnosis patient, it is now.
Mental Health and Addiction
Being addicted to drugs or alcohol can take a toll on person’s life in many ways. Physical, emotional, and mental trauma can occur to various degrees depending on the substance and the length of time a person has been an addict. Many drugs cause a change in an individual’s brain, especially in the areas that produce pleasure and pain, leading to the person wanting to be high as often as they can. Changes in the brain can be severe enough that a person no longer experiences pleasure or pain in a normal fashion. However, professional treatment options are available to help patients on their road to recovery and back to a balanced life.
How to Begin Treatment
Every person’s life, no matter their age, is affected by addiction in different ways. Finding an alcohol or drug treatment center that is right for you or your loved one is one of the most important steps in recovery. It is never too soon find out what programs and therapies are available, even if a person is not yet ready to commit to rehabilitation. Knowing that addiction treatment services are accessible may be exactly what a person needs to hear in order to make the decision to seek help. No one should fight addiction alone and treatment specialists are always ready help a person find their way to recovery.
To learn more about the connection between mental health and addiction and how we can help, give us a call at 877-466-0620.