Substance Abuse and Mental Health
Sometimes that old cliché, “when it rains, it pours” rings true, and sometimes life makes it feel like you also lost your umbrella. I imagine that’s the tip of the iceberg in describing how people who battle with substance abuse and mental health issues feel on a daily basis.
Dealing with a mental health issue like depression or anxiety is hard enough without adding struggling with alcohol or drug abuse as well. When you deal with both of these problems it is called co-occurring disorder or duel diagnosis. And both the mental health issue and substance abuse problem each come with unique symptoms and ways they affect or hinder your everyday life.
And while these disorders do not directly cause the other, they do correlate in how they affect your life. Sometimes people suffering from mental health issues use alcohol or drugs to self medicate and try to numb the pain of their disorder, which may eventually lead to dependence and abuse of alcohol or drugs. Other times substance abuse may be the tipping point in someone who already exhibits risk factors for mental health issues. Either way, alcohol or drug abuse will ultimately make the symptoms of mental health disorders worse—especially when mixed with medicines prescribed to help treat the mental health disorder.
But there is still hope. You are not alone, and with the support of your friends, family, and doctor and the proper treatment, you can stop letting a duel diagnosis rule your life.
If you want to make it down the road to recovery, overcoming denial will be your first big step. Here are some great recourses that will broaden your awareness about substance abuse and mental health issues and hopefully give you courage to reach out and overcome that first hurdle.
- This article gives a great overview of substance abuse and mental health along with symptoms to look for and questions to ask yourself if you think you might be suffering from a duel diagnosis. It also gives recourses to help you in your recovery. http://www.helpguide.org/articles/addiction/substance-abuse-and-mental-health.htm
- This is the website for Duel Recovery Anonymous and includes a wealth of information as well as help in finding support groups to help your recovery. http://draonline.org/dual_diagnosis.html
- Here is the link to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) website. It’s another way to find information on a wide variety of issues affecting substance abuse and mental health and has a searchable database of treatment facilities for substance abuse. http://www.samhsa.gov
Do your research, and then find someone you trust, confide in them, and start seeking the help you need. Don’t lose heart; if it weren’t for the rain, we’d never see the rainbows.