Addiction is a complex disease that affects not only physical health but also mental health. It is common for people with addiction to have co-occurring mental health disorders, such as anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). These mental health disorders can make addiction recovery more challenging, but it is crucial to understand and manage them to achieve long-term sobriety.
Understanding Co-Occurring Mental Health Disorders
Co-occurring mental health disorders and addiction are often referred to as dual diagnosis. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), about half of the people with a substance use disorder also have a mental health disorder. The reasons for this co-occurrence can vary, but some factors that contribute to it include genetics, environmental factors, trauma, and stress.
It is essential to understand that co-occurring mental health disorders can worsen addiction and vice versa. For example, people with depression may use drugs or alcohol to self-medicate, which can lead to addiction. On the other hand, addiction can cause or worsen mental health symptoms, such as anxiety or paranoia.
Managing Co-Occurring Mental Health Disorders in Addiction Recovery
Managing co-occurring mental health disorders in addiction recovery requires a comprehensive and individualized treatment approach. The following are some strategies and therapies that can help:
1. Integrated Treatment
Integrated treatment is a comprehensive approach to treating co-occurring mental health disorders and addiction. It involves a team of healthcare professionals, including psychiatrists, psychologists, addiction specialists, and therapists, who work together to develop an individualized treatment plan. Integrated treatment can include medication-assisted treatment, behavioral therapy, and support groups.
2. Medication-Assisted Treatment
Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is a type of treatment that uses medications to manage withdrawal symptoms, cravings, and mental health disorders. MAT is often used in combination with behavioral therapy and support groups to achieve long-term recovery. Some medications that are commonly used in MAT include buprenorphine, methadone, and naltrexone.
3. Behavioral Therapy
Behavioral therapy is a type of therapy that focuses on changing behaviors and thought patterns that contribute to addiction and mental health disorders. Some types of behavioral therapy that are effective for co-occurring disorders include cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), and motivational interviewing (MI).
4. Support Groups
Support groups, such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA), can provide a sense of community and accountability for people in addiction recovery. There are also support groups specifically for co-occurring mental health disorders, such as Dual Recovery Anonymous (DRA) and SMART Recovery.
Co-occurring mental health disorders can make addiction recovery more challenging, but it is essential to understand and manage them to achieve long-term sobriety. Integrated treatment, medication-assisted treatment, behavioral therapy, and support groups are some strategies and therapies that can help. If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction and a co-occurring mental health disorder, reaching out for help is the first step towards recovery.
Sarasota Addiction Specialists is an outpatient treatment center for substance abuse located in Sarasota, Florida. If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction and a co-occurring mental health disorder, please reach out to us for help. Our phone number is (941) 444-6560, and our website is www.sarasotaaddictionspecialists.com.
1. National Alliance on Mental Illness. (2021). Dual Diagnosis. https://www.nami.org/About-Mental-Illness/Common-with-Mental-Illness/Substance-Use-Disorders/Dual-Diagnosis
2. National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2018). Comorbidity: Substance Use Disorders and Other Mental Illnesses. https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/comorbidity-substance-use-disorders-other-mental-illnesses
3. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2019). Co-Occurring Disorders. https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help/disorders