Do you, or does someone you love, need help for drug addiction and mental health problems?
Substance addiction and mental health disorders affect millions of people across the United States. In the aftershock of a serious global pandemic, Americans are facing ongoing struggles with their mental health and substance abuse. According to research from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), there was a sharp increase in mental and behavioral health conditions during the early months of the pandemic, and more people increased their drug or alcohol consumption to cope.
If you or a loved one is in a similar situation, you are not alone. As of the latest data from Mental Health America, nearly 50 million American adults reported a diagnosable mental, behavioral, or emotional disorder in the past year. More than 19 million Americans reported a substance use disorder in the past year, as well, and these statistics do not include the many youth suffering. It is clear that America is in the midst of a mental health crisis, yet too many people are not seeking proper help.
Professional help is recommended for those battling substance use disorders, mental health disorders, or a combination of the two. With specialized treatment, the symptoms of these conditions can be alleviated and managed effectively.
Co-Occurring Addiction and Mental Health Disorders
Mental health disorders and substance addiction often co-occur, meaning they affect the same individual. An individual may use drugs to cope with a mental illness. A person may also display symptoms of a mental illness after repeated and prolonged drug abuse. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), mental health and addictive disorders co-occur for several reasons:
- When abused, certain drugs can cause people with an addiction to experience one or more symptoms of a mental health disorder.
- Mental health disorders can sometimes lead to substance use, as some people will misuse drugs and alcohol as a form of self-medication.
- Mental health and substance use disorders share some “underlying causes,” including changes in brain chemistry, genetic vulnerabilities, and exposure to stress or trauma, that can trigger both types of conditions.
When a person is battling a drug addiction and mental health disorder simultaneously, it is referred to co-occurring disorders or, sometimes, dual diagnosis. As you can expect, the co-occurrence is quite complex. Both disorders of the brain, substance addiction and mental illness can cause disruptions in a person’s life and everyday functioning. Getting help requires highly-specialized treatment and care.
As stated by the DHHS, “Someone with a mental health problem and substance use disorder must treat both issues. Treatment for both mental health problems and substance use disorders may include rehabilitation, medications, support groups, and talk therapy.”
The specific treatment and therapies, however, will depend on each person’s individual needs. Drug addiction and mental health treatment is never one-size-fits-all. Because people have different symptoms, experiences, health histories, and general needs, each person requires a different path of treatment. The right program will evaluate your needs and recommend a personalized plan for you.
Helpful Treatments for Drug Addiction and Mental Health Problems
As noted, the best treatment for co-occurring disorders is an integrated intervention, in which a person receives help for both their mental illness and substance use disorder. Together with a treatment provider, you can understand the most effective treatment method for you or your loved one.
For co-occurring conditions, common elements of treatment might include:
- Detoxification: This stage of treatment is to ensure that the person safely withdraws from drugs and alcohol. Inpatient detoxification is recommended for more severe substance use disorders, which lasts an average of seven days in a monitored, clinical setting.
- Residential treatment: After detox, many people with co-occurring illnesses will enroll in an inpatient treatment program. Inpatient or residential treatment provides a person with 24/7 care and support, as well as a safe, sober, and serene setting where they can properly heal. This setting is away from outside temptations of drugs and alcohol, as well as triggers that may exacerbate mental health symptoms.
- Psychotherapy: In part with mental health and addiction treatment, psychotherapy is often recommended. There are different types of evidence-based therapies out there, depending on a person’s needs, experiences, and level of motivation in recovery. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is one example of an effective therapy method that helps people understand the root of their disorders, change negative thought patterns, and healthy develop coping strategies.
- Support groups or meetings: Mental health and substance use disorders are debilitating and isolating, and can make a person feel hopeless and all alone. The truth is, many people are walking in similar shoes. Participating in a support group, or attending meetings with others in recovery (such as 12-step meetings) can be extremely helpful in coping and connecting after treatment. These group meetings enable you to build friendships with others in recovery, to share your experiences, and to be held accountable for sobriety.
- Holistic ways of help: In addition to psychotherapies and clinical support, there are holistic methods that can help a person manage their mental health and drug addiction long-term. These include mindfulness and meditation techniques, art and music therapy, and establishing an exercise regime. Holistic therapy and activities are important components of Turnbridge’s treatment programs, and an important element of anyone’s recovery toolkit.
Do You Need Professional Help for a Mental Illness or Drug Addiction?
If you are seeking potential help for addiction or mental health problems, it is likely that you can benefit from professional intervention and support. As noted above, professional, integrated dual diagnosis treatment is always recommended for those struggling with co-occurring addiction and mental health disorders. However, if you are unsure if help is needed, consider the following signs and symptoms.
Are you experiencing symptoms of these common mental health disorders?
- Persistent sadness and hopelessness
- Feelings of worthlessness
- Loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed
- Changes in appetite and/or weight
- Difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much
- Loss of energy
- Lack of concentration
- Physical aches and pains
- Thoughts of death or suicide
- Anxiety Disorders:
- Feelings of apprehension, dread, and worry
- Feeling tense, jumpy, or restless
- Always anticipating the worst
- Fast or pounding heartbeat
- Chest pain or shortness of breath
- Sweating, tremors, and twitches
- Fatigue or dizziness
- Upset stomach or diarrhea
- Frequent urination
- Bipolar Disorder:
- Fluctuating between manic and depressive states
- Mania is characterized by impulsive behaviors, reckless decision-making, risk-taking, and sometimes psychotic episodes.
- Depression is characterized by excessive sadness or hopelessness, the inability to get out of bed, negative feelings such as loss, guilt, and/or personal failure.
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder:
- History of trauma
- Reexperiencing memories of the trauma, which may include flashbacks, bad dreams, and intrusive thoughts
- Avoidance of certain places, people, topics, or objects that trigger reminders of the traumatic event
- Mood symptoms, such as feeling numb, worried, guilty, or depressed
- Cognitive symptoms, such as out-of-body experiences or derealization
- Hypervigilance, such as easily and immensely startled, or outbursts of anger
Are you experiencing symptoms of a substance use disorder?
- Behavioral changes, such as:
- Sudden mood swings, including increased anger or irritability
- Periods of hyperactivity, happiness, and agitation
- Changes in appetite or sleeping patterns
- Sudden shifts in personality or attitudes
- Secretive or suspicious behaviors, as well as lying and manipulation
- Increase in anxiousness and paranoia
- Increased risk-taking and involvement in illegal activities
- Violence, such as getting into fights
- Drop in attendance or performance at work or school
- Constantly seeking, using, or recovering from a substance
- Sudden change in friend groups or social circles
- Unexplained need for money or experiencing financial issues
- Continued use of substances, despite negative consequences
- Physical symptoms, such as:
- Sudden changes in weight
- Disregard for physical appearance
- Tremors or seizures
- Slurred speech
- Impaired coordination
- Skin abrasions/track marks
- Frequent nosebleeds (from snorting drugs)
- Sweatiness and headaches
Are you experiencing symptoms of co-occurring disorders?
A combination of symptoms is possible. Mental health disorders can worsen the symptoms of substance addiction. Similarly, substance abuse can significantly exacerbate the symptoms of a mental health disorder.
Get Professional Help for Mental Health and Substance Addiction
If you or a loved one is exhibiting multiple signs from the above list, professional intervention may be needed. The best way to find out if treatment is needed is to speak with a clinical professional. A clinician – whether that be a counselor, your primary care provider, or a drug treatment specialist – can assess your current needs and symptoms, and determine the best next course of action.
Getting help for an addiction and/or mental health disorder can make a world of difference, and early intervention provides the most successful recovery outcomes. If you are in need of professional help, you can always contact Turnbridge. Turnbridge is a recognized mental health and substance addiction treatment provider for young adults and adolescents.
Learn more online about our addiction treatment services, or call 877-581-1793 today.