Mental Illness and Addiction

Jun 2019 Mental Illness and Addiction

In the past, rehab therapists would see mental illness and addiction as two separate conditions. Therefore, they treated them independent of each another. However, advances in addiction medicine revealed that these conditions actually form connections. How does this understanding help you today?

Understanding the Connection between Active Mental Illness and Addiction

You experience depression or anxiety. These are mental illnesses. Concurrently, you experience chemical dependency. Therapists now consider this presentation to be a sign of comorbidity.

This term suggests that the conditions aggravate one another. Drug addiction and mental illness both change the way the brain works. Therefore, they both affect your thoughts, feelings, and actions. Therapists at any cognitive behavioral therapy program Palm Springs CA can count on seeing this first hand.

For example, anxiety issues might cause you to have a difficult time being around people. Alcohol lowers your inhibitions, makes you more talkative, and numbs your nervous system. You feel more confident around people and believe that you can interact more easily. Over time, your risk of encountering physiological and psychological addiction to alcohol increases.

Another example is depression. You don’t feel like you can get out of bed and function. Stimulants give you the edge to get up and keep moving. Fortifying yourself with stimulants quickly becomes second nature.

A False Sense of Security

However, the connection between mental illness and addiction shows that drugs aren’t the answer. They only offer a temporary respite. In contrast, they don’t fix the condition. In fact, self-medication with drugs and alcohol worsens your underlying mental health concern.

Besides that, mind-altering substances lead to addiction. This dual diagnosis can make your life feel like a never-ending cycle. You get up to use. Next, you spend the day scoring more drugs and recovering from substance abuse.

The Importance of Treatment

Because of the intertwining of drug addiction and mental illness, receiving treatment for both is essential. You can’t treat only one condition and leave the other one alone. Doing so would inevitably lead to a setback. Dual diagnosis treatment centers know this.

That’s why good-quality facilities offer modalities that focus on simultaneous care. Examples of protocols include:

  • Detoxification that encourages the safe withdrawal from the drugs you currently use
  • Trauma-informed care as a method for dealing with unresolved situations that affect you
  • One-on-one talk therapy that lets you set goals and explore underlying mental health concerns
  • Dual diagnosis treatment that combines medication and talk therapy to manage mental illness
  • Behavioral counseling, which focuses on developing and implementing healthy coping mechanisms

After treatment, good-quality facilities help you reintegrate into society. For many program participants, this means assistance with job placement as well as case management. Relapse prevention training at the center prepares you for this step. Therefore, you’ll leave feeling comfortable with pursuing a career.

Find out more about the connection between mental illness and addiction. Most importantly, learn how you can end the vicious cycle that the two create in your life. Phoenix Rising therapists can help. Dial 8552328211 right now to set up an appointment.