According to the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), approximately 9.2 million adults in the United States live with a mental health issue and at least one type of substance use disorder. Having both conditions is known as having a co-occurring disorder or a dual diagnosis.
Those with a mental illness are more likely to have a substance use disorder than those not affected by a mental illness. Mental health disorders can include anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, PTSD, and more. Substance use disorders can include addiction to alcohol, opioids, prescription medication, tobacco, marijuana, and more.
Many people with mental health conditions abuse drugs or alcohol to find relief from the symptoms of a mental health disorder. While substances may offer temporary relief at first, they are not a long-term solution; they can easily lead to addiction and, in the process, worsen the mental health condition.
Staying Sober with a Dual Diagnosis
While having a co-occurring disorder can increase your risk of relapse and can make staying sober a challenge, many forms of treatment combined with self-care can help. Co-occurring disorders require integrated treatment. A treatment team often includes addiction specialists, therapists, medical doctors, and psychiatrists. The team members communicate with you and with each other to address your challenges.
Remember that you are an important member of your treatment team. In addition to working with team of professionals, here are some things you can do to help ensure your health and sobriety:
- Build trusting relationships with people who can support your journey and help you when you are struggling. Do not be afraid to walk away from relationships that may jeopardize your sobriety.
- Attend support group meetings with others who share the same experiences.
- Encourage counseling for the entire family or with your spouse. The more support and understanding you have, the less likely you will relapse.
- Consider cognitive behavioral therapy to treat your co-occurring conditions. This type of therapy can help identify patterns of behavior that lead to addiction and mental health conditions and teach you how to replace them with new, healthier habits.
- Continue with extended aftercare at the facility where you sought treatment. Recovery centers such as Mountain Laurel Recovery Center offer aftercare options for those with a dual diagnosis. Attending aftercare can help reduce your chances of relapse.
- Take care of your health with a balanced diet, exercise you enjoy, and good sleep hygiene.
Signs and Symptoms of Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders
Someone struggling with a mental health condition may experience various symptoms in varying degrees. Some signs of a mental health condition may include:
- Loss of appetite
- Changes in sleep
- Lack of personal hygiene
- Isolating from friends or family
- Loss of interest in activities that they once enjoyed
- Shifts in mood
- Difficulties at work or school
- Unable to focus or concentrate
- Feeling nervous or anxious
- Racing thoughts
- Feelings of anger or rage
- Displays of odd, reckless, or unusual behavior
If someone is suffering from a substance use disorder, they may show the following signs:
- Changes in physical appearance
- Changes in appetite or sleep
- Enlarged pupils and reddened eyes
- Impaired speech or coordination
- Legal issues
- Financial problems
- Changes in friends or where they hang out
Contact Mountain Laurel Recovery Center For Help
If you or a loved one are struggling with an addiction, contact Mountain Laurel Recovery Center for help. We offer drug and alcohol treatments as well as dual diagnosis treatment in our beautiful Northern Pennsylvania setting. We can create an individualized treatment plan to meet your specific needs and goals and can offer a full range of care for those with substance use disorders and co-occurring mental health conditions. To find out more about we can help get you on the journey to recovery, use our convenient online contact form.