Relationship Between Mental Health and Substance Abuse

Chemical dependency can creep up on you. For example, you may have had a great reason to start reaching for alcohol or benzos. However, it eventually turns on you. Case in point is the relationship between mental health and substance abuse. Because ultimately, the drugs hook you, there’s help in the form of dual diagnosis rehab.

How Do Problems with Mental Health and Substance Abuse Connect?

The majority of people with a co-occurring condition don’t know that they have a mental health problem. They could be struggling with anxiety, bipolar disorder, or depression. However, they never received a formal diagnosis. This left them to deal with the symptoms themselves.

Initially, the connection between mental health and substance abuse seems benign. Your depression paralyzes you. Therefore, you pop a few stimulants to get going. It works.

Maybe you suffer from PTSD. You never underwent a trauma informed therapy program after the situation happened. Now, there are intrusive emotions and unwelcome thoughts that crop up at any time. You numb yourself with pain pills or alcohol to make them go away.

Initially, the relationship between mental health and substance abuse is one of self-medication. You make the symptoms go away. However, you quickly develop a physical tolerance and then a dependency.

Rehab with a Dual Diagnosis Focus Offers Recovery Opportunities

The combination of addiction and mental health disorder is a co-occurring condition. Therapists call it a dual diagnosis. Treating both disorders at the same time is instrumental to healing. Without this step, a trigger for substance abuse always remains.

For example, typical therapy approaches include:

You also meet with peers in group therapy sessions. Of course, many of them have a dual diagnosis just as you do. As they’re finding their ways out of problems with mental health and substance abuse, peer counseling helps. You provide each other with feedback, input, as well as encouragement.

Most importantly, you learn to lean on others for accountability. As you progress through treatment, you then begin to work on relapse prevention strategies. One of them is support group attendance. The 12 Steps, in particular, show a lot of promise with helping people protect early sobriety.

After Rehab

During your stay at the rehab center, you learn coping, social, and life skills. You come to understand that an underlying mental health condition needs ongoing management. Most program participants receive a referral to a therapist to continue this aspect of care. Everyone benefits from support groups.

It’s possible that you run into some hiccups along the way. That’s completely normal. Remember that addiction’s a chronic disease with no cure. It responds very well to treatment, but it may flare up occasionally.

If this happens, come back to the center. Therapists help you get back on track. Of course, you first have to begin your treatment. Now that you know about the connection between problems with mental health and substance abuse, it’s time to act.

You don’t have to suffer in silence. Connect with Gateway Aurora by dialing [Direct] for help.

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