Drug Abuse And Mental Illness

Mental illness among drug addicts is a common and escalating issue. When someone suffers from a mental illness alongside a drug or alcohol addiction, it is categorized as dual-diagnosis. Those struggling with mental illness are 2x as likely to abuse drugs and alcohol when compared to the general populous. A variety of scenarios can be included in the complex cause-and-effect relationship between these two areas.

Relationship Between Drug Abuse And Mental Illness

The possible relationships between drug abuse and mental illness as defined by the National Institute on Drug Abuse:

  • A common origin may be apparent for both disorders
  • Drug and alcohol abuse may exacerbate or cause mental illness
  • Mental illness may lead to substance abuse when subjects self-medicate with drugs and alcohol in an effort to ease the side effects of medication or alleviate symptoms of the disorder at hand

Common Origins Of Mental Diagnosis And Substance Abuse

When a single cause is apparent for both disorders, it is often one of the following:

  • Areas of the brain have been linked to both drug abuse and mental illness
  • Some patients are more susceptible to drug abuse and mental illness as a result of environmental factors, including childhood stressors and family issues
  • A genetic predisposition to both substance abuse and mental illness disorders

Consequences Of Substance Abuse With Mental Illness

Mental illness and Co-morbid substance abuse can result in a variety of consequences, including failure to respond to treatment, medication noncompliance, damaged relationships with loved ones and episodes of psychosis.

Problems Of Addiction With The Mentally Ill

Addiction increases the risk of jail and homelessness while contributing to social stigmas regarding the mentally ill. Though individuals with psychiatric issues are generally non-violent, the few who are aggressive in nature are typically struggling with addiction while ignoring their medication.

Treatment For Dual Diagnosis

Diagnosis can prove difficult due to the time required to unravel the interactive effects of mental illness and addiction. This delay may also inhibit treatment. One may require mental illness treatment over substance abuse treatment, or vice versa. Ultimately, both issues must be addressed in order to achieve a state of optimum mental and physical health.

An integrated recovery approach must be sought when addiction and dual diagnosis is present. Treatment will include counseling, intensive case management, social support and motivational interventions. Recovery should be comprehensive, catering to each and every aspect of the patient’s life, including socialization, activities, housing and stress management.

The road to recovery is never an easy journey. If you or a loved one is struggling with dual diagnosis, Above it All Treatment Center is the place to turn. With a team of seasoned addiction, mental health and recovery specialists available to assess and address your individual needs and condition, you can count on Above it All to have you smiling and on the fast track to fabulous in no time. Call today!

Holistic Addiction Treatment

Drug addiction is a common issue that causes many people to seek treatment. An inpatient facility offers a number of options designed to get to the root of the addiction and help clients. A holistic drug treatment program includes elements that treat a client’s body, mind, and soul. All aspects have been affected by the addiction and need healing as part of the treatment process.

Holistically Treating Physical Needs

A client who arrives at a treatment program will be assessed to determine what his or her needs are before an individual treatment plan can be devised. If a person is still using drugs or alcohol, the first step may include going through holistic detox, or a similar program to free the body from the physical effects of drugs and/or alcohol.

Medically supervised detox is a safer way to deal with this part of the treatment. It involves slowly lowering the amount of drugs and alcohol in a client’s system until he or she is completely drug-free.

Nutrition And Exercise In Holistic Treatment

The other aspect of looking after a client during inpatient drug and alcohol treatment is recognizing that a person may not have been eating properly. The treatment program needs to include some instruction in healthy eating, as well as exercise classes and opportunities to spend time outside.  Because they’re so lost in the addiction, many addicts forget to provide very basic care for themselves.

Addressing Mental Health Needs In Holistic Treatment

Successful addiction treatment must include treating a client’s mental health needs. The initial screening should also include an evaluation for issues like depression, anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, and schizophrenia. If holistic treatment for co-occurring disorder is required, expert treatment will be provided for the mental health concern as well as individual and group counseling for the addiction. Both issues are addressed concurrently to help clients in recovery.

Over time, clients can learn how to recognize the situations that may act as triggers for them to use drugs or alcohol. They can start to learn how to change thought processes to move away from negative thoughts and replace them with positive ones that can help to strengthen their commitment to sobriety.

Treating Spirit And Soul With Holistic Treatment

The third part of holistic drug and alcohol treatment programs involves focusing on the client’s soul. It’s just as important as taking good care of the body and teaching clients in treatment how to refocus their way of thinking in a more positive manner. A person’s relationship with his or herself is likely broken at this level from the addiction, and it can be repaired as part of the treatment process.

Meditation can help, even though many people may feel awkward about taking the time to be still and experience what they feel as they spend time in quiet contemplation. Over time, this strategy should help clients to develop a sense of peace and mindfulness that they can use to keep stress levels down.

Holistic drug rehabs use this three-pronged approach to help clients develop good strategies for their sobriety goals. The more tools they can add to their inventory, the more likely the client will be able to achieve long-term recovery.

Understanding Addiction & Bipolar Disorder

Characterized by severe mood swings, bipolar disorder can oftentimes require specialized medication and care for treatment. Unfortunately, some patients believe that the medications are not suited to their needs or simply choose not to take them. These individuals sometimes rely on self-medication through drug and alcohol use, which can result in addiction. Understanding the reasoning behind substance abuse, the moods and the treatments offered can provide insight into both the addiction and disorder as a whole.

Depression and Mania

In order to understand the correlation between bipolar and addiction, we must first educate ourselves in regard to the moods. Depression is the mood where patients show an extreme disinterest in life, a discontinuation of typically exciting and fun activities and a heightened interested in suicide. In some cases the depression can be triggered once a patient is informed of their actions during a manic episode. The same patients can also suffer from mania, which includes heightened energy levels alongside the desire to participate in high-energy activities – exercise, frivolous spending and hyper-sexuality to name a few. Manic individuals will also immerse themselves within a variety of projects with the intent of completing each one, despite a lack of dedication and unrealistic deadlines.

Substance Abuse

When a bipolar patient dabbles in substance abuse, it is considered dual diagnosis. Substance abuse in bipolar individuals may occur during both the depression and manic phases. Some suffering from the disorder refuse to take prescription medication due to a fear of side effects and instead choose to self-medicate through alcohol or drug use. Others cater to the belief that the medications simply aren’t doing enough to alter their state of mind. For depressed patients, stimulants are often the drug of choice due to the energy and positive emotional effects. Patients in a manic state often resort to alcohol due to its depressive qualities. Unfortunately, self-medication will ultimately lead to addiction, providing patients with yet another condition to combat.


Addiction treatment is the first step in addressing dual diagnosis. Many patients often require a mood stabilizer in order to keep the depression and mania at bay. However, most of the mood stabilizers used in mental health recovery do not interact well with illicit drugs or alcohol. Once the addiction can be managed through detox and counseling, doctors can begin administering treatment for bipolar disorder.

Researching dual diagnosis treatment centers? Contact Above It All Treatment Center today! With a team of seasoned addiction and mental health experts available to address each patient’s individual needs, you can count on Above It All for the personalized care and attention you’ve been searching for. Call today for more information and find out what Above It All can do for you!

There Is No Room For Blame In Treating Dual Diagnosis Clients

Dual diagnosis clients are hit with a double whammy when it comes to needing help. On the one hand, they are living with a mental health issue, and on the other, they need treatment for substance abuse issues. It can be difficult to determine whether a person started using drugs or alcohol as a way to self-medicate and cope with an underlying mental illness or whether drug abuse may have triggered changes in brain chemistry that led to a mental health issue. No matter how the situation developed, trying to lay blame on a loved one who has two serious issues does nothing to deal with the problem and may discourage him or her from getting the specialized dual diagnosis treatment he or she needs.

Both Conditions Require Treatment

Friends and family members may have lost patience with a loved one who has a complicated health situation like a dual diagnosis. More than likely, they have been through many situations involving anger, frustration, shame, embarrassment, guilt, and other strong emotions over months or years. By educating themselves about mental health and addiction, they will understand the situation more clearly and realize the addiction and the mental health issue must be evaluated and treated separately if their loved one is going to get well.

Find the Right Kind of Help for a Dual Diagnosis Client

The best place to get help for a person who is living with a mental illness and an addiction is at a mental health residential treatment facility. Once he or she arrives, the first step will be to undergo detoxification (detox). The staff will need to get the effects of any chemicals of out the way to determine the true nature of the mental health issues that the client is experiencing. Having a proper diagnosis is a crucial part of the process when helping clients who have been diagnosed with anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, or bipolar disorder and who are struggling with addiction.

Once the staff understands the nature of the client’s mental health concern, they will be able to devise an individual treatment plan. The addiction is treated concurrently to the mental health issues using a combination of strategies, which may include individual and group counseling, attending 12-step program meetings, and engaging in various recreational activities to encourage healthy, sober living. Dual diagnosis treatment facilities do an excellent job of offering a holistic approach to meeting the needs of their clients to ensure that both aspects of their health concerns are dealt with appropriately.

Drug Treatment Programs Right Choice for Clients With Dual Diagnosis

It’s not uncommon for someone who needs treatment for a substance abuse issue to also be living with a mental illness as well. When a person is dealing with both issues concurrently, this situation is referred to as a co-occurring disorder or dual diagnosis. Dealing with a loved one who has become addicted to drugs is challenging for any family, but when the additional stress of a mental health disorder is added to the situation, it becomes even more strained.

Understanding Dual Diagnosis

Both of these issues cause symptoms that can make it challenging for a person to cope with everyday life.

  • Someone may start using drugs to control the symptoms of his or her mental illness.
  • Self-medication can make mental illness more difficult to diagnose correctly.
  • Even if the mental illness is diagnosed appropriately, continued drug use may interact with medications used to treat it. Some medications are rendered less effective when combined with other drugs.
  • Side effects from the substance abuse can make the mental health issues more pronounced and harder to treat over time. It’s difficult to tell which symptoms are attributable to the addiction and which ones are part of the mental illness.

Get Appropriate Treatment for Both Concerns

Treating a client with a dual diagnosis is a special situation. Drug treatment programs that accept clients who have these types of needs are staffed by counselors and therapists who have the training necessary to treat the addiction and the mental health concern.

A client will need to be carefully evaluated to confirm the dual diagnosis. If necessary, he or she will need to undergo a detoxification process (detox) to rid themselves of all drugs before appropriate treatment for each condition can begin. Going away to a drug treatment center tucked in the California Mountains gives clients the opportunity to focus on coming to terms with their diagnosis (perhaps for the first time) and on healing.

Live Life Well After Being Diagnosed with a Mental Illness

It is possible to live well with a mental illness. Part of the treatment will include learning about the disorder and understanding what it means for the client’s everyday life. The treatment program for addiction will include healthy sober activities, including hiking, meditating, and exercise classes. Some instruction in healthy eating will also be provided; getting well means nurturing the physical body while working on the emotional and spiritual aspects of recovery.

Whether the mental health concern is anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, or another mental illness, getting the right treatment for a dual diagnosis starts with a proper diagnosis. The addiction can get in the way of people getting the right help for their concerns. Finding a drug treatment center with staff who understand the unique needs of dual diagnosis clients is essential for healing and recovery to take place.

If you suffer from addiction and think you might have a dual diagnosis, contact Above It All Treatment online, or call us at 1-888-997-3006.

Dual Diagnosis: Get Help for the Vicious Circle of Addiction and Mental Illness

If you or a loved one are living with a mental health issue and are addicted to drugs or alcohol, the term used to describe the situation is “dual diagnosis.” The good news is that the situation is far from hopeless. Recovery is possible, but each problem must be addressed appropriately at an addiction treatment center staffed by people with experience at dealing with this type of situation.

Mental Illness and Substance Abuse

Some people who are mentally ill start using drugs or alcohol to control how they feel. Drinking or using drugs may make them feel calmer or happier. Over time, the self-medication turns into an addiction to drugs or alcohol. In some instances, the addiction leads to symptoms of a mental illness, such as depression, suicidal thoughts, or hallucinations.

Trying to determine which came first is not all that helpful. If two issues are present, both of them need to be treated. It does take time to recover, but with the right help and support, this is a realistic goal.

 Residential Treatment Centers for Dual Diagnosis

The first step in treating dual diagnosis is to break free from the hold of the drugs or alcohol. This process is known as going through detox. The advantage of going through it in a residential center for treatment drugs or alcohol is that a client’s condition can be carefully monitored throughout the process by qualified medical personnel.

This is the part of the program that you or your loved one may be most reluctant to undertake. You certainly don’t have to look very far to find terrifying accounts of what going through withdrawal is like. At a treatment facility offering a supervised medical detox program, every consideration is made to make clients feel comfortable during this initial phase of treatment.

After this phase is completed, clients at Above It All Treatment Center get help from a 12-Step program as well as supportive therapy for their mental health issues. This two-pronged approach to treatment is the best approach for dealing with a dual diagnosis. The substance abuse issue does not exist in a vacuum. Unless the mental health problem is treated appropriately, the same behaviors will repeat themselves.

The experts at the treatment center can diagnose and recommend a course of treatment that will address both issues. In the case of a dual diagnosis, it may include medication to treat the mental health issue so that you or your loved one don’t turn to drugs or alcohol to self-medicate to deal with feelings of anxiety, depression or other symptoms that can be treated more appropriately under a doctor’s care.

Don’t wait one more day to start on the road to recovery from a dual diagnosis when help is available now. To learn if affordable rehab is right for you, call for a free assessment today.