When a patient suffers from both a mental illness and addiction, these co-occurring conditions are known as dual diagnosis. In cases like this, it is extremely important for that patient to receive help for both conditions simultaneously. This will help reduce the risk of a relapse. One way to do this is to attend a rehab facility that caters to both addiction and mental illness. Clear Life Recovery’s dual diagnosis rehab in Costa Mesa, California, specializes in this treatment.
How are mental illness and addiction linked?
About half of all people with a mental illness will also have a substance use disorder at some point in their lives. Likewise, about half of everyone with a substance use disorder also will have a mental illness during their lifetimes. 1 Even if a patient does not meet the criteria for a full-blown mental illness, roughly 80% of people with addictions experience some kind of psychiatric symptoms that could eventually develop into mental illnesses. And if you take away the qualifier “at some point during their lifetimes” and examine only current patients, you’ll find that about one in four patients with serious mental illnesses such as major depression and bipolar disorder also struggle with addiction. 1
It’s tough to isolate which condition is more likely to come first. In some cases, drug use upsets brain chemistry, disrupts a person’s life, and leads to mental illness. In other cases, mental illness provides the motive for some people to turn to drugs in order to cope.
What is clear is that the two are inextricably linked. It often takes a specialist to diagnose patients correctly and identify which conditions are at play under the surface.
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Why is it so important to treat both the addiction and the mental illness at the same time?
Say a dual diagnosis patient was to visit a therapist and a psychiatrist and receive treatment for his mental illness without also seeking treatment for his addiction. His therapy and psychiatric medications may have helped him feel better in the short term. But eventually, his addiction might drag him back down into mental illness. This is because addiction in and of itself can cause or greatly exacerbate mental health problems.
Worse, if a different dual diagnosis patient were to only treat her addiction and leave her mental health condition untreated, she would likely relapse back into addiction at some point. This could be because many people turn to substances to self-medicate and soothe their undiagnosed or untreated mental health conditions. In the second patient’s case, even if she successfully completed rehab, the first time her untreated mental illness reared its head, she would be likely to turn back to her original coping mechanism: substance abuse.
To make matters more complicated, sometimes a withdrawal from substances such as alcohol and crystal meth can cause depression. 2 Similar effects can be seen with other substances that create imbalances in brain chemistry during withdrawal. This can lead to anxiety, irritability, insomnia, hallucinations, attention problems, and a host of other symptoms associated with mental illness. 3
This can be dangerous for people who already struggle with depression or other psychiatric symptoms. In the past, they may have turned to alcohol or drug use in order to feel better and this resurgence of symptoms increases the likelihood of relapse as the original mental illness will appear to have worsened.
It’s clear that once both mental illness and addiction have set in, they are so intertwined that they must be treated together in order for a patient to fully recover.
Looking for mental illness and addiction treatment in California? Turn to the leading dual diagnosis rehab in Costa Mesa.
Clear Life Recovery understands that mental illnesses and substance abuse often occur together. They feed off of each other, and therefore must be treated simultaneously in order for recovery to last in the long term.
If you suspect you or a loved one is suffering from co-occurring conditions such as depression, anxiety, PTSD, bipolar disorder, and addiction to drugs or alcohol, call Clear Life Recovery today. You can also fill out our convenient online contact form and have one of our qualified specialists get back to you, as soon as possible.