Recognize your risk factors for mental health conditions so you can get sober and address psychological problems
Getting sober from drug or alcohol addiction is hard, but fighting a mental health condition at the same time can be even more difficult. Sadly, many people struggle to get sober from drugs, because they are unaware of their underlying psychiatric disorders that contribute to their addictions. In fact, they do not realize that over 50% of addicted Americans also have at least one significant mental illness.
The following mental health problems are especially prevalent among addicts:
- Bipolar disorder
- Borderline personality disorder
- Obsessive compulsive disorder
- Panic anxiety disorder
- Posttraumatic stress syndrome
- Eating disorders
Mental health experts assert that most addicts do not stumble into this bad habit simply because they were easily hooked by drugs or alcohol. Rather, these professionals argue that untreated psychiatric and emotional problems increase the risk of addiction.
In fact, research problematic drug use is a symptom of personal and social maladjustment, not the cause. Furthermore, the only way to understand drug use is to view it within the context of someone’s personality and history.
How Genes Increase the Risk for Addiction
People who are concerned about their risk of addiction may find clues about their vulnerability in their family trees. A strong link exists between addiction and mental health issues, which is evinced by the following factors:
- Drugs and alcohol exacerbate underlying mental illnesses during episodes of acute intoxication and withdrawal
- Individuals with untreated mental illnesses often self-medicate their anxiety and depression with drugs and alcohol, a faulty coping tool that only worsens pain
- Drugs and alcohol can trigger symptoms of a mental illness that has never manifested itself before
Co-occurring diagnoses create vicious cycles. If a psychiatric condition deteriorates, then someone becomes more likely to isolate himself from his community. As a result, stress escalates, which increases the chances of relapse. Similarly, when addiction flares or someone goes on a bender, her psychiatric condition often gets worse. For these reasons, the best way to recover from a Dual Diagnosis is to seek professional treatment for both conditions at the same time, ideally from a rehab facility that specializes in both conditions.