Addiction and mental health are two of the most pressing issues facing our society today. In fact, it has been estimated that one in five people will suffer from a mental health disorder at some point in their lives. And addiction is now considered a chronic disease, just like diabetes or heart disease.
The two, mental health and addiction disorders, go hand in hand and should not be ignored. If you don’t have both right now, it doesn’t mean that you’ll never get them. When it comes to treating someone suffering from both addiction and a mental health disorder, many different options can be explored. But which should be treated first: addiction or mental health?
What Is A Mental Health Disorder?
Mental health disorders are conditions that affect a person’s mental or emotional well-being. They can manifest in several different ways, from anxiety and depression to bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. While many people suffer from some form of mental illness at some point in their lives, most of these individuals never receive treatment.
Mental health disorders can develop at any age, but they tend to most commonly appear in childhood or early adulthood. Depending on the type of mental illness a person is dealing with, it may be possible to successfully manage symptoms and prevent further deterioration through therapy, medication, and other treatments.
However, many people with mental health issues continue to struggle with symptoms for years or even decades without getting the help they need, which could lead to substance abuse.
What Is An Addiction?
Addiction is a disease that affects the brain and changes how it functions. It can interfere with an individual’s ability to make healthy choices, resulting in compulsive drug or alcohol use despite negative consequences. Addiction can be defined as a chronic, relapsing disease caused by changes in the brain that result in an impaired ability to control drug or alcohol use.
Addiction is a complex disease that affects the brain and nervous system and can lead to a wide range of negative consequences for both the individual and their loved ones. Some of the most common symptoms of addiction include:
• Inability to control substance use – many people with addiction find that they cannot stop using drugs or alcohol, even when it causes significant problems.
• Loss of control – people struggling with addiction may also feel like their drug use has gotten out of control and no longer feels like a choice. This can lead to guilt, shame, remorse, and anxiety about the future.
• Dependence – drug or alcohol use is also typically accompanied by physical dependence, which can lead to a range of uncomfortable and potentially dangerous withdrawal symptoms when the substance is stopped.
Addiction can affect anyone, regardless of age, gender, race, socioeconomic status, or other factors. Therefore, seeking help as soon as possible is important if you are struggling with addiction.
How Are Mental Health And Addiction Linked?
While it can sometimes be difficult to tell whether someone is suffering from a mental health problem or addiction, many individuals who struggle with mental illness also have substance abuse issues and vice versa. The reason for this link between mental health and addiction is that both disorders can directly or indirectly cause chemical imbalances in the brain.
One of the main ways that mental health and addiction are linked is through the use of drugs or alcohol as a form of self-medication. Substance abuse can temporarily relieve symptoms of depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues, leading some people to believe that drugs or alcohol are the only way to cope with these feelings.
Another contributing factor is that many people with mental illness also experience low self-esteem and social isolation, which may lead them to turn to drugs or alcohol as a way to cope with these feelings.
People who struggle with addiction are at increased risk of developing mental health disorders later in life because of the stress and risk of relapse that is often associated with substance abuse.
So Which Do You Treat First?
When dealing with mental health and addiction issues, it can be difficult to determine which condition should be treated first. Many treatment programs provide dual diagnosis support that focuses on treating both conditions simultaneously.
Co-occurring disorders can also be treated by a specialized addiction or mental health clinic, depending on the individual needs of the patient. By treating these disorders simultaneously, a person can get the help they need and reduce their risk of relapse. Reaching out for professional treatment is the first step for anyone struggling with addiction or mental health issues. At Findlay Recovery Center, patients can receive comprehensive care that addresses both their mental health and substance abuse needs through our dual diagnosis treatment program.