Society tends to stigmatize mental health disorders and addiction as conditions that only affect people who make irresponsible life choices, but the reality is they can affect anyone, regardless of beliefs or backgrounds. Often, these chronic illnesses become so intertwined it can be challenging to determine which came first.
When you are struggling with mental illness and drug abuse, treatment professionals refer to it as a dual diagnosis – an issue that’s more common than you might think. People searching for ways to ease the symptoms of mental health issues such as PTSD, depression and anxiety may turn to drugs or alcohol in a misguided effort to self-medicate. Likewise, people who rely on substance use may develop issues like depression and other mood disorders when their self-destructive behavior drives a wedge between them and their closest family and friends.
How Prevalent Are Mental Illness and Drug Abuse?
According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, about one-third of people living with a mental health condition also experience substance abuse, and up to half of those who develop drug abuse problems deal with various mental illnesses.
Sadly, the people who would benefit the most from professional help are often the least likely to seek it – whether they are in denial about how sick they are or feel too drained and worthless to pursue a solution. While there is no cure for mental illness and drug abuse, these disorders are treatable, allowing you to manage your symptoms and live a healthier, happier life.
Treating Substance Use and Mental Health Disorders
Many people who simultaneously experience a substance misuse problem and a psychiatric disorder discover their symptoms ebb and flow over time. Compared to people who only have one of these challenges, dual diagnoses may involve additional obstacles in recovery, requiring more time in treatment. However, that doesn’t mean holistic wellness is out of reach.
Instead of trying to tease out the underlying causes of substance misuse and mental illness and address them separately, the most successful approach for dealing with co-occurring disorders is integrated intervention. This philosophy involves simultaneously treating mental illness and drug abuse. To reclaim your life, you need a comprehensive, customized plan to tackle a dual diagnosis at its root, including medical detox, primary treatment and extended care.
Recovering From a Dual Diagnosis
Regardless of whether your substance use or mental health challenges emerged first, an accredited treatment facility can help you declare your independence from these disorders and make a fresh start. At Vista Taos, you will learn more about prioritizing your well-being, and you’ll get the tools and support that allow you to make lasting changes. While living with a dual diagnosis can be overwhelming, you can take the first step today by reaching out to our team and asking for help.