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Mental Health and Substance Abuse


World Mental Health Day is almost upon us and, for those who struggle with a substance abuse problem, mental health disorders often come with the territory. When an individual suffers from both a substance abuse problem and mental health issues, such as depression, anxiety, or bi-polar disorder, this is typically known as a co-occurring disorder or a dual diagnosis. While dealing with more than one issue at once can seem overwhelming and difficult to overcome, there are many treatments available and steps that can be taken to begin the path toward recovery. If you are struggling with substance abuse and a mental health disorder, The Carter Treatment Center in Cumming, Georgia can help you recover and reclaim your life.

The Link Between Substance Abuse and Mental Health

Oftentimes, in co-occurring disorders, the symptoms from both issues get in the way of an individual’s ability to function in many areas of life, including work or school and everyday tasks. Additionally, the co-occurring disorders affect one another. When one is left untreated, the other tends to worsen. According to the Journal of American Medical Association, co-occurring disorders are much more common than most realize. Here are some statistics regarding mental health disorders and substance abuse:

  • About 50% of individuals who suffer from severe mental health disorders are also affected by substance abuse
  • About 37% of all alcohol abusers and 53% of drug abusers also suffer from at least one mental illness
  • Of all those who are diagnosed as mentally ill, about 29% abuse alcohol or drugs

Do Mental Health Disorders Cause Substance Abuse Problems?

While substance abuse and mental health disorders are closely linked, one is not usually a direct cause for the other. That said, alcohol and drugs are often used by those who suffer from mental health disorders to self-medicate the symptoms. However, when one abuses any substance to combat a mental health disorder, this typically only worsens the situation. Moreover, drug and alcohol abuse can increase the underlying risk one has for mental health disorders, creating a greater chance of one developing depression or anxiety disorders. For those who already suffer from mental health disorders, drug and alcohol abuse can also exacerbate the symptoms and even trigger new ones.

How Do I Know if I Have a Co-Occurring Problem?

Diagnosing both a substance abuse problem and a co-occurring mental health disorder can be difficult. Discerning which symptoms originate from a mental health disorder and which originate from substance abuse can take some time. Some general warning signs you can look out for include:

  • You use alcohol or drugs to cope with unpleasant feelings or memories, to control your pain, to confront situations that frighten you, or to stay focused.
  • You notice a relationship between your mental health and substance use.
  • Someone in your family has struggled with a mental health disorder or drug and alcohol abuse.
  • You feel depressed or anxious when you are sober.
  • You have unresolved trauma.
  • You previously received treatment for your addiction or mental health problem and the substance abuse treatment failed due to complications with your mental health or vice versa.

Holistic Drug Rehab Center in Cumming, Georgia

If you or a loved one is suffering from co-occurring disorders, it is time to take the first step toward living a better, healthier, and happier life. At The Carter Treatment Center, our team is committed to helping individuals and families recover from substance abuse disorders through a holistic approach that addresses their physical, mental, and emotional needs.

Learn more about how we can help you or your loved one today and contact us at (678) 737-4430.

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