Can Drug Abuse Unearth Underlying Mental Health Disorders?

Mental health falls on a spectrum. No one is completely free from mental health concerns — maybe you deal with occasional anxiety, or you struggle with self-image. Maybe you suffered a brief bout of situational depression, or you get extra hard on yourself when you fail an exam or don’t do as well as you think you should be doing at work. No one is happy and completely stable all of the time. Some people, however, struggle from diagnosable mental illnesses, which means their mental health concern is not situational and will not resolve on its own.

Direct Link Between Mental Health and Drug Abuse

In most cases, mental illnesses are adequately treated with a combination of medication and psychotherapy. Suppose a mental health concern is not chronic. In that case, it can typically be treated with psychotherapy alone or with a short course of medication (taken only for several weeks or several months, depending on individual need). However, there is a direct link between mental health and drug abuse. This link presents itself in several different ways. The two can be linked in the following ways:

  • Mental health concerns can lead to substance/drug abuse. Many people who struggle with mental illnesses like anxiety and depression use drugs and alcohol to self-medicate. They attempt to self-medicate uncomfortable psychological symptoms, ultimately making these symptoms more severe over time.
  • Drug abuse can lead to mental health concerns. Some chemical substances can lead to the development of mental health concerns and mental illnesses. For example, because alcohol is a depressant, people who use alcohol daily for months or years are far more susceptible to developing depressive disorders.
  • The same risk factors occur for those who are more susceptible to drug abuse and mental illness. Many people struggle with mental health concerns and addiction because the two conditions affect the same areas of the brain. In addition, people are more prone to both conditions if they have underlying issues like unresolved trauma, genetic predisposition, live in high-stress environments, or have had particularly stressful or traumatic upbringings.

Can Drug Abuse Unearth Underlying Mental Health Disorders?

The Importance of Dual Diagnosis Treatment Options

Dual diagnosis treatment refers to a program of treatment that includes psychiatric services and addiction treatment services. Up until fairly recently, addiction and mental health concerns were viewed as entirely separate. Now, it is understood that for one condition to be effectively treated, both must be addressed simultaneously.

If they are not, the symptoms associated with the mental illness will often bring a person back to drug and alcohol use, or the symptoms of the addiction will cause the person to stop taking their medication. For example, say a person has been struggling with alcoholism and severe social anxiety. Social anxiety is treated with a combination of therapy and medication (a benzodiazepine like Valium).

The person in treatment for anxiety doesn’t let their therapist know they have been self-medicating with alcohol. Instead, they decide to stop drinking for a couple of weeks, and their anxiety symptoms subside. However, as soon as the person starts drinking again, they either forget to take their medication or stop going to therapy and choose to stay home and nurse a hangover instead. One treatment will not work unless all existing issues are adequately addressed.

Evoke Wellness MA and Dual Diagnosis Treatment for Addiction and Mental Health

At Evoke Wellness MA, we offer dual diagnosis treatment options to clients who have been struggling with mental illnesses and substance abuse simultaneously. Then, mental health concerns were treated in psychiatric hospitals, and addictive disorders were treated in drug and alcohol rehab centers. Now, the relationship between the two is more thoroughly understood, and treatment options are available to address both conditions simultaneously in one facility. Our Massachusetts rehab center provides a full continuum of clinical care, combining therapeutic intervention with medication-assisted treatment options and holistic modalities.

Call Now For Priority Admission to Our Addiction Treatment Programs

We take a personalized approach to dual diagnosis recovery. No two clients follow the same treatment program — the specifics of each program are custom-tailored to meet the unique needs of the individual. As a result, Evoke Wellness MA has quickly become one of the state’s most trusted dual diagnosis treatment providers. Contact us today to learn more about addiction, mental illness, and the necessity of dual diagnosis treatment options.

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