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Mental Illness and Substance Abuse

1-800-315-2391  |  March 18th

Mental Illness and Substance Abuse

There are a lot of people today struggling with substance abuse problems that don't fully realize they're frequent use of alcohol or drugs may be a form of self-medication because they're also battling with a mental illness. Emotional and psychiatric problems are very common among people that also abuse drugs and alcohol and unless both conditions are diagnosed and treated at the same time, both illnesses will continue to get worse.

The term dual diagnosis is given when a person is diagnosed with a mental health illness that coexists with an alcohol problem, drug problem or both.

Individuals suffering from substance abuse or addiction that also have a mental health problem don't understand that the use of drugs or alcohol will only make their underlying mental health illness worse. Alcohol and drugs may make a person feel better for the moment when they're high or intoxicated but symptoms associated with their mental health issues such as depression, panic, anxiety, paranoia and suicidal thoughts can actually get worse from substance use.

Underlying Mental Health Problems Associated with Dual Diagnosis

  1. Depression
  2. Bipolar Disorder
  3. Anxiety Disorder
  4. Panic Disorder
  5. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
  6. Schizophrenia
  7. Personality Disorders
  8. Phobias

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), there are a lot of people suffering from mental illness that have an ongoing substance abuse problem but there are also a lot of people that abuse alcohol and drugs that experience mental illness.

Mental health illness is treatable and so is substance abuse and addiction but if a person is suffering from both at the same time no matter which condition came first, both illnesses have to be diagnosed and addressed in order to overcome substance use. If you have a problem with drugs, alcohol or both, seek professional help to make sure you aren't also suffering from an underlying mental health issue or mental illness that developed due to substance use.

Lasting sobriety from alcohol or drug abuse is greatly diminished if a person doesn't receive help for both illnesses if they coexist. Both conditions can be successfully treated but without professional help, will only get worse and could result in overdose and possible death which sadly takes place much too often.


References & Resources

  • National Alliance on Mental Health

Comments & Replies:

  • Linda Cottrell @ March 22nd, 2013

    I need to find outpatient help for daughter. Court mandated in Ashtabula, Ohio. Will be moving to Ringgold, Va. to live with me and father with her 2 girls. Has tested clean even before all the legal trouble had started. She is recovering meth addict.

  • Angie @ July 4th, 2013

    I HAVE AN ADDITION PROBLEM TO PAIN PILLS AND I NEED HELP ASAP, I DO NOT HAVE HEALTH INSURANCE OR ANY INCOME. IM SO SCARED AND WORRIED TO DEATH ABOUT WHAT I CAN DO TO GET HELP FOR MY PROBLEMS. IM VERY LIMITED.IM IN KNOXVILLE TENNESSEE. CAN ANYONE OUT THERE SUGGEST ANY PROGRAMS, I HAVE BEEN TO CHEREEKE HEALTH BUT THAT ISNT HELPING ME AT ALL.

  • Marie H. @ September 22nd, 2013

    I'm a recovering heroin addict and have been clean from it for almost 2 1/2 years, but in these 2.5 years I've turned to alcohol to help me get thru any problem. I did the same things when I was using, and I'm seeing returning patterns in myself. I'm terrified for myself. My entire life I have always had a "crutch" to get me through something, and I'm ready to stand on my own two feet, without the help of any substance. I have also been diagnosed with bi-polar disorder as well. I just don't know where to turn anymore. I can't bring myself to tell people because everyone is always telling me how proud they are that I got off heroin, and I don't want to disappoint any more people then I already have. I've been in drug counseling before and it worked wonders, but due to financial reasons I couldn't continue. That's my problem now. I have no income, but I know I need help. I live in Joliet, Illinois. Please help I'm desperate!!!

 

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