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Struggling with Addiction & Mental Illness—Where Do I Start?

If you are struggling with addiction and mental illness, it can feel like a daunting and overwhelming task to figure out where to start. It is important to remember that you are not alone on this journey. Millions of people face the same struggles as you, and there is help available if you take the right steps. The key is understanding how addiction and mental health issues interact so that you can get the most effective treatment possible for your particular illness. 

This article will provide an overview of what substance abuse looks like when combined with a mental health disorder, how they affect each other, and what treatments may be beneficial for someone facing both issues at once. With this information in hand, those suffering from these dual diagnoses will have better insight into finding the best path toward recovery from their addictions and improved mental wellness.

What is Dual Diagnosis?

Dual diagnosis is a term used to describe the combined presence of a mental health disorder and substance use disorder. This means that both conditions must be present for an individual to receive a dual diagnosis. When someone suffers from a dual diagnosis, the symptoms of their mental health disorder and addiction can significantly worsen if left untreated. 

For example, someone with depression may turn to alcohol or drugs as a way of self-medicating, while someone with an anxiety disorder may use substances to try and relax. The combination of these two conditions has been shown to lead to more intense cravings and relapses in individuals than either condition on its own.

Furthermore, individuals who have received dual diagnoses have higher risks of developing co-occurring physical illnesses due to substance misuse and poor self-care when managing their mental health issues. As such, it is important that those facing dual diagnoses receive comprehensive treatment which addresses both the underlying causes of their addiction and the psychological components of their mental illness to attain long-term recovery from both conditions.

Common Co-occurring Disorders

1)  Depression and Alcohol Addiction

Depression and alcohol addiction are two of the most common co-occurring disorders that can lead to dual diagnosis. Depression is a condition that affects an individual's mood, often leading to feelings of sadness or hopelessness. Alcohol addiction, on the other hand, is a condition where an individual has difficulty cutting back or controlling their drinking despite its negative consequences. Those with depression and alcohol addiction often turn to the latter as a way of self-medicating in order to escape their depressive thoughts and feelings. Unfortunately, this self-medication can quickly lead to an increased tolerance and reliance on alcohol, which leads to physical dependence, further deepening the effects of both depression and alcohol addiction.

2) Anxiety and Drug Addiction

Anxiety and drug addiction are also common dual diagnosis. Anxiety is an emotional disorder characterized by feelings of fear and unease, often in response to a perceived threat or danger. Drug addiction is when an individual continues to take drugs despite their negative consequences, leading to physical dependence. Those dealing with both anxiety and drug addiction may use substances as a way of reducing their anxious thoughts or emotions. Treatment should focus on not only reducing cravings and withdrawal symptoms associated with drug addiction, but also helping individuals identify and cope with the underlying causes of their anxiety to maintain long-term recovery from both conditions.

3) Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Prescription Drug Misuse

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and prescription drug misuse can be a deadly combination. Individuals with PTSD often experience intrusive thoughts, flashbacks, and nightmares related to traumatic events. Prescription drug misuse involves taking drugs for non-medical reasons, such as coping with difficult emotions or seeking a feeling of euphoria. The long-term use of prescription drugs can have serious mental and physical health consequences. Don't let PTSD and prescription drug misuse become a fatal mix.

Importance of Treating Both Aspects

The importance of treating both aspects of addiction and mental illness cannot be overstated. Studies have shown that treating the underlying causes of addiction, such as depression or anxiety, can significantly reduce the chances of relapse. Furthermore, by receiving treatment for the psychological components of a dual diagnosis, an individual can gain better insight into their behaviors and learn effective coping mechanisms which can help them manage their cravings and make healthier lifestyle choices. Treatment programs that address both a person's addiction and mental health issues simultaneously are often tailored to each individual's specific needs and take into account the unique combination of drug use and mental health disorders they are facing.  

Additionally, some medications can be used to treat both addiction and mental health issues. However, it is important that individuals receiving such treatment are carefully monitored by trained professionals throughout their recovery, as there can be potential risks associated with certain medications. By taking this approach, individuals with a dual diagnosis can receive comprehensive care which helps them to achieve long-term recovery from their addictions, as well as improved overall mental well-being.

JHRC's Individualized Recovery Program

JHRC offers an individualized recovery program that is designed to address the unique needs of each person with a dual diagnosis. The program is tailored to meet the specific combination of mental health and substance use issues faced by each individual, ensuring that all aspects of their condition are addressed. JHRC's team of experts is highly trained in treating the dual diagnosis, providing a wide range of services that will help individuals to achieve a successful recovery. 

These services aim to equip individuals with the tools they need to manage their cravings, address underlying causes for their addiction, and develop effective coping strategies for dealing with mental health issues. Additionally, JHRC also provides ongoing support throughout the treatment process through individual counseling sessions. The goal of JHRC's individualized recovery program is to enable individuals with dual diagnoses to reach long-term recovery from both mental illness and addiction while also gaining improved overall mental well-being.

Addiction and mental illness can greatly affect an individual's life. However, with proper treatment, individuals with a dual diagnosis can achieve successful recovery. At JHRC, they provide individualized recovery programs that cater to each person's unique needs. Their comprehensive treatment and support allow for long-term well-being and a life free from addiction and mental illness. Get the specialized care you need and start your journey to recovery today.

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