Recovering from addiction involves more than not using drugs or alcohol. When you get the right treatment, you learn how to find balance in all parts of your life. You get the tools you need for real, lasting wellness. You heal physically and psychologically.

Addiction is rarely a stand-alone disease. If you struggle with addiction, you likely struggle with one or more mental health issues as well. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration shares, “Approximately 7.9 million adults in the United States had co-occurring disorders in 2014. People with mental health disorders are more likely than people without mental health disorders to experience an alcohol or substance use disorder.”1 These facts may seem grim, but they’re really a reason to not worry! They let you know aren’t alone. You aren’t facing a challenge you can’t overcome.

Co-occurring addiction and mental health issues, also called a dual diagnosis, are treatable and beatable. However they do need to be treated. You aren’t likely to find lasting relief if you don’t get the right help. So learn more about dual diagnoses, take the next steps and get that help and support you need!

Why Do Addiction and Mental Health Issues Overlap?

Brain x-rayDrugs change how your brain and body work. Mental health issues change how you think, feel and act. One can cause the other, or both can share personal, environmental or biological causes. As the National Institute on Drug Abuse explains, “The high prevalence of comorbidity between drug use disorders and other mental illnesses does not mean that one caused the other, even if one appeared first…Establishing causality or directionality is difficult for several reasons. Diagnosis of a mental disorder may not occur until symptoms have progressed to a specified level (per DSM); however, subclinical symptoms may also prompt drug use.”2 Even professionals have a hard time determining how, when and why addiction and mental issues develop. Luckily discovering which came first isn’t important when it comes to early recovery and getting help. You don’t have to have all the answers immediately. These come in time as you get treatment for your dual diagnosis. As long as you choose an integrated treatment program, healing can begin on all levels.

How Do You Treat a Dual Diagnosis?

Co-occurring mental health and addiction issues need integrated, comprehensive care. This care typically begins with therapy. Your therapist will work with you to introduce concepts of addiction and mental illness. He or she will answer questions, get to know you and create a treatment plan. Your therapist will help you recognize and accept your thoughts and feelings while you also work to change how you approach and react to certain situations. Therapy is a gradual process, so beginning in inpatient care can help you stay on track while what you learn and practice takes root.

Inpatient programs also include group counseling and support group meetings. Meeting other people in recovery helps you learn more about addiction. It provides understanding and support for recovery. You can attend general focus support groups or find tailored groups. For example some groups focus on specific co-occurring issues. Others welcome veterans or the LGBT community. You can find 12-step groups or groups that follow a different structure. Starting in inpatient care lets you explore your options in a safe, supportive environment. It lets you try several different individual and group therapy methods to find what works for you.

Addiction and mental health issues are chronic conditions. They often involve relapse and can really get in the way of you living your best life. However the right treatment gives you a real chance at recovery. Addiction found, “Compared with individuals who remitted after obtaining help, individuals who remitted without help were more likely to relapse subsequently and, in fact, the relapse rate among these individuals was 60%.” When people did get help, relapse rates fell below 40%. The sooner and earlier they got help, the lower the likelihood of relapse became.3 Give yourself your best chance at recovery. Get professional, integrated treatment for co-occurring mental health and addiction issues.

Finding Treatment for Co-Occurring Disorders

At Michael’s House, we help you and your family create a plan for real, lasting recovery. We help you access the tools and resources you need for recovery now and long into the future. Call to learn more about our integrated treatment program. We can help you or a loved one begin to heal today.

1Co-occurring Disorders.” Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. 8 Mar. 2016.

2Why Do Drug Use Disorders Often Co-occur with Other Mental Illnesses?” National Institute on Drug Abuse. Sep. 2010.

3 Moos, Rudolf and Moos, Bernice. “Rates and Predictors of Relapse After Natural and Treated Remission from Alcohol Use Disorders.” Addiction. 11 Sep. 2007.

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