One of the most essential aspects of receiving treatment for addiction is getting to the root of the addiction to determine why an individual has come to rely on an illicit substance in the first place. While the issue could be related to finances, work or stress, there’s a possibility that the person has an untreated and undiagnosed mental illness. It’s vital to determine if your addiction is connected to your mental health to know whether you should consider Florida Dual Diagnosis Treatment for Addiction.
The Issue of Self-Medication
If you experience the symptoms of a mental illness that you don’t know you have, you may resort to self-medicating with drugs or alcohol in an attempt to find relief. For instance, someone with clinical anxiety may drink in social situations to feel at ease, and a person with clinical depression could start taking Adderall or using cocaine. While these methods may work, they could also result in an unhealthy dependence and a number of emotional issues, which only adds to the number of problems that need to be addressed during trauma, therapy and addiction treatment.
Abusing Drugs to Address Side Effects
On the other side of the equation, an individual may be aware of her or his mental illness and take prescribed medication for it. The only issue is that the medication could have unpleasant side effects. In an effort to combat these side effects, the person could use illegal drugs or alcohol. For instance, someone who’s schizophrenic could be on medication that makes her or him depressed, which could lead to illegal drug use.
The Cycle Feeds Into Itself
There are times when certain drugs and substances can lead to the development of symptoms associated with mental illness, such as depression, paranoia and delusions. While the effects of the substance eventually fade, the symptoms they trigger can persist long afterward. Something else to think about is that drinking and drug use can compromise one’s decision-making skills, leading to regrettable life choices with long-stand consequences, such as causing a car accident, unsafe sex practices (and STIs), eating disorders (and the resulting health issues) and PTSD.
Altered Brain Chemistry
Some mental illnesses are linked to an imbalance of chemicals in the brain. In an attempt to balance the scales, a person may use drugs that alter brain chemistry, such as ecstasy. Chronically abusing such drugs can lead to a greater chemical imbalance, which can lead the person to abuse other substances yet again. Without proper treatment and knowledge of medication that is safe and effective, an addict with mental health issues is putting her or himself at serious risk by using illegal drugs and alcohol.
Increased Mental Health Risk
A person’s genetics, environment and overall life experiences can put him or her at greater risk for mental illness. That risk is increased when he or she starts to abuse drugs or alcohol. It’s equivalent to having the key to a door, only you don’t know where that door is or that you have the key. Abusing drugs and alcohol has a way of drawing key and door closer together until the door is eventually unlocked and the individual steps into a nightmare.
The Importance of Dual Diagnosis
When you decide to receive treatment for substance abuse, it’s essential that you enroll in a program that offers both substance abuse and mental health treatment at the same time. Otherwise, you risk only receiving half the help you need to remain sober and reach your full potential.
Treating the body without simultaneously treating the mind when it comes to substance abuse can lead to a type of phantom limb syndrome; you walk around with the sensation that you’re whole, only you look down and notice a part of you is missing. To better your chances of feeling complete while working your way toward recovery, be sure you’re tested for mental illness as you’re being treated for addiction.