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Friday, May 13, 2016

Mental Illness and Addiction: Exploring the Connection

Mental Illness and Addiction 
May is Mental Health Month, led by Mental Health America (MHA), so what better time to discuss the link between addiction and mental illness?

More and more experts are seeing a lot of overlap between the conditions. In fact, about 37 percent of alcoholics and 53 percent of those with a drug addiction have at least one serious mental illness, according to the Journal of American Medical Association.

And it works the other way, too: Nearly 50 percent of people with severe mental illness – mainly depression and bipolar disorder – also have some form of substance abuse disorder or dependence.
Unfortunately, despite the growing prevalence of these co-occurring disorders (also known as dual diagnosis or co-morbid disorder), few people seek treatment for both the addiction and the mental illness. A slippery slope, indeed, as a healthy mental state is imperative for battling addiction.

Warning Signs of Co-Occurring Disorders
Spotting the signs of a dual diagnosis can be tricky – since they’ll vary depending on your addiction and your mental illness. For example, the signs of depression and alcoholism will differ from, say, cocaine addiction and anxiety disorder.

In general, however, co-occurring disorders make it difficult to function on a daily basis and can lead to the following, according to MHA:
• An inability to maintain employment
• An inability to maintain functional relationships
• Legal problems
• Financial issues
• Extreme mood swings or an inability to control their emotions

Getting the Help You Need
If you or someone you love is showing signs of co-occurring disorders, it’s important to know that you’re not alone and that help is out there. At Red Oak, our clinical team is comprised of Master Level therapists, dually licensed in Mental Health and Addiction disciplines. Call today: 866-831-9107.

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