Mental health and addiction often go hand-in-hand. Many people who suffer from addiction, also have an underlying mental illness or disorder that either started their addiction or has kept them in an endless cycle of using. The human brain is a complex network of chemical reactions, and when any of these are out of balance a person can feel certain symptoms and not understand why. One of the cunning side effects of addiction is that it can magnify certain mental disorders, or make them appear present when they are really just a result of long-term using.
A common story for many addicts is that they’ve always feel out of place. They feel others don’t understand this. Once they began drinking or using, they begin to feel better or “normal.” This is sometimes referred to as “self-medicating,” and can deter a person from finding out what the source of these feelings really are. It is sometimes easier for them to drink or do drugs, rather than seek the opinion of a professional for their symptoms.
Addiction is a progressive disease that affects the individual’s mind and body, which causes them to not think logically when it comes to their substance of choice. The longer someone uses substances, rather than seeking help, the more they will justify that their using is the only way for them to feel normal. The effects of long-term substance abuse makes the person lack self-awareness because it has been damaging the part of the brain responsible for that function. When an addict enters treatment, they must be treated for their addiction as well as any other possible mental illness.
A dual diagnosis is when a person suffers from both their addiction and a mental illness, and it is important that this is recognized by an addiction specialist. The addict must first go through detox in order to clear their mind and body of drugs or alcohol. The body’s reliance to these substances can make a person feel anxious, depressed, or show symptoms of bipolar disorder as a reaction to their obsession of wanting more or fear of being sober. When they are fully detoxed, the person will go through individual therapy where the source of their using can be explored.
Long-term Addiction Caused Symptoms of Mental Illness
It is always possible that someone’s long-term addiction has caused their symptoms of mental illness, so when they accumulate an extended amount of sobriety these symptoms may disappear. Most addicts don’t want to tell doctors about the extent of their drinking and using, so they may be treated for a disorder that may be a result of their using. This can be potentially dangerous because when some of the medications that are prescribed to treat these disorders are mixed with other drugs or alcohol they can increase chances of overdose or other health problems.
Untreated mental illnesses are one of the leading causes for relapse, and is why so many people that try to become sober on their own cannot maintain sobriety. If they are still feeling anxiety, depression, or any other symptoms, it can be a trigger to turn back to drugs and alcohol. Treatment centers will give the person a plan of action once they leave the facility to help continue treatment. Sometimes they will recommend aftercare therapy or they might even prescribe medication. Due to most addictions requiring abstinence from any drug, these addiction specialists will prescribe non-narcotic medications that treat mental illness.
No matter what mental illness a person may have, recovery from addiction is still possible. Please call us today for more information.