Addiction hurts. It destroys relationships. It ruins lives. It kills.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health: Two Issues Mean a Two-Pronged Approach to Treatment is Required

Substance Abuse and Mental Health: Two Issues Mean a Two-Pronged Approach to Treatment is Required

mental health effects

There can be no doubt about the strong link between mental health issues among addicts. Some people believe that drug use causes mental illness, but in most cases a person who has mental health concerns turns to drugs or alcohol to try to self-medicate, attempting to cover over the problems caused by the mental illness. Unfortunately, they don’t get the results they are looking for and only end up with an addiction as well as the mental illness.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Facts and Statistics

The following facts and statistics were provided by the Journal of the American Medical Association:

  • About half of people diagnosed with severe mental illness are also affected by substance abuse.
  • Approximately 53% of individuals with drug addictions and 37% of alcoholics have at least one serious mental illness.
  • People living with a serious mental illness are sensitive to the effects of alcohol and other drugs.

Treatment for Dual Diagnosis

Treatment for a person with a dual diagnosis must be handled by professionals with experience in this area. Dual diagnosis treatment facilities are staffed by experts who can treat both health concerns simultaneously. A client who is living with anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, or another mental health concern as well as an addiction can get caring, professional help for both of them.

The first step after admission to an inpatient rehab treatment center is for the client to go through detoxification, if necessary. During this phase, his or her system is freed from all chemicals. The process is medically supervised to ensure that the client is kept safe and comfortable.

Once this phase is completed, an individualized treatment plan is devised for each client. It may include attending 12 step recovery meetings, group therapy sessions, individual counseling appointments, exercise classes, life skills instruction, and nutrition classes. Part of healing will also include participating in some enjoyable group activities, such as hiking and going on outings.

Going to an inpatient treatment center to get help for a dual diagnosis allows a client to focus on getting well, without the distractions of his or her everyday life. Getting sober allows the professionals to treat every health concern appropriately and give each one the attention it deserves.


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