mental illness and addictionThere’s an undeniable relationship between mental illness and substance abuse, and regular rehab doesn’t provide sufficient treatment for people who are struggling with both. Dual diagnosis treatment, on the other hand, targets both the addiction and the underlying cause, thereby increasing your chances of success. Because of everything that dual diagnosis treatments provide, they are your best bet for getting clean when you’re dealing with mental health issues on top of substance abuse.

The Causal Relationship Between Substance Use and Mental Illness

People suffering from mental health issues are more than twice as likely to abuse drugs and alcohol as people who don’t have an underlying mental illness, and 50 percent of people who have a mental illness also struggle with substance use. Taken together, both of these statistics are an indication that there’s a strong connection between mental illness and addiction.

One reason for this is that many people with mental health issues turn to drugs and alcohol as a method of alleviating the symptoms associated with their disease. Furthermore, people who are treating a mental illness with prescription medications often turn to drugs and alcohol to help manage the unpleasant side effects of their medication.

However, abuse and addiction can also trigger certain mental illnesses, especially if the user is genetically predisposed to one condition or another. Just like eating too much sugar can increase your risk for type 2 diabetes when you’re genetically predisposed, so too can drug and alcohol use increase your risk of mental illness under the right circumstances. Drug and alcohol use can also exacerbate the symptoms of an existing mental illness, which in turn causes increased substance use.

Why You Can’t Treat One Without the Other

Because the link between mental illness and substance abuse is so strong, treating one disease without addressing the other would be like trying to get rid of smoke without putting out the fire. When it comes to co-occurring disorders—a mental illness present with drug or alcohol abuse—the only successful treatment is dual diagnosis treatment, because only this will treat both conditions separately and together as part of the same disease.

If you treat the mental illness but not the substance use, the addiction will still be there. If you treat the drug use but not the mental illness, then you’re ignoring the underlying cause, and the symptom will return in the form of a substance use relapse.

The Benefits of Dual Diagnosis Treatment

Dual diagnosis to treat co-occurring disorders is your best chance at recovery because you’ll receive rehab treatment for your drug or alcohol problem, as well as therapy and treatment for the mental health issues causing the substance use. At a facility that provides dual diagnosis treatment, you’ll:

  • Go through detox to purge drugs and alcohol from your system
  • Receive one-on-one therapy to address the underlying causes of your addiction and address mental health issues
  • Have access to group therapy where you’ll hear from other people who are struggling
  • Get high-quality medical attention around the clock
  • Receive motivation and encouragement from staff and fellow patients
  • Get individualized therapy to treat your addiction, treat your mental illness, and gain the tools to live a clean, sober, and healthy life

Another important element of dual diagnosis treatment is the aftercare you’ll get once you leave, which will help you stay on track in terms of your sobriety, and give you continued care for your mental illness. If you or a loved one is struggling with drug or alcohol addiction and a co-occurring disorder, dual diagnosis treatment will help you get clean, get healthy, and give you a better chance for a productive future. Call us today at 866-349-1770 to learn more about dual diagnosis treatment programs.