Many who struggle with a substance abuse disorder or addiction also suffer from a mental health disorder. When you have both an addiction and a mental health issue such as anxiety or depression, this is called having a dual diagnosis or co-occurring disorder. When you have a dual diagnosis, both your mental health and your drug or alcohol addiction present their own unique symptoms. On their own, either of these conditions can impact your ability to function; however, the ability to manage symptoms can be even more challenging when combined.

Are Mental Health and Substance Abuse Connected?

Substance abuse problems and co-occurring mental health issues are more common than many people may think. When mental health problems go untreated, the substance abuse problem typically gets worse. Conversely, when alcohol or drug abuse escalates, mental health problems usually do so as well. Across the nation, many individuals with a mental health disorder are affected by substance abuse or addiction. Also, an overwhelming percentage of those addicted to alcohol and drugs have been diagnosed with at least one significant mental health illness. Unfortunately, substance abuse problems and mental health conditions do not get better when they are ignored. The opposite is typically true. The symptoms for both usually get much worse.

There are several reasons substance abuse and mental health disorders are closely linked. While one does not necessarily “cause” the other, one can reinforce the other or exacerbate symptoms. Therefore it is essential to treat both conditions simultaneously at an addiction treatment center with staff skilled in dual diagnosis treatment. 

Alcohol and Drugs are Often Used For Self-Medication

If you are struggling with an undiagnosed mental health condition, it is not uncommon to turn to drugs or alcohol to help alleviate some of the associated symptoms. In addition, people turned to drugs or alcohol to help cope with difficult emotions or temporarily alter their mood. Unfortunately, this form of self-medication causes side effects and, in the long run, can lead to addiction while only worsening the symptoms you are trying to relieve.

Substance Use Increases Mental Health Risk 

If you are at risk for a mental health condition due to any number of reasons, substance abuse may help to exacerbate symptoms beyond your control. 

Substance Use Can Make Mental Health Symptoms Worse

Alcohol or drug use can significantly increase symptoms of mental illness or trigger new symptoms. For those who currently take medications for a diagnosed mental health condition, substance use can interact with these medications making them less effective. 

How to Choose the Right Mental Health Facility in Los Angeles

When you have decided it is time to seek treatment, it is essential to find a treatment location where the staff is appropriately licensed and skilled in treating co-occurring disorders. It is also important to ensure the program uses evidence-based, research-backed treatment programs combined with a robust aftercare program to provide adequate relapse prevention after you complete treatment. Be sure your selected treatment program has experience treating your unique mental health condition as not all programs are equipped to treat all conditions.  

Benefits of Mental Health Facilities in Los Angeles

Our Sherman Oaks, CA treatment program, Crosspointe Recovery, provides treatment that addresses both substance abuse problems and any diagnosed or underlying mental health conditions. Because we understand that all addiction treatment and mental health treatment must be unique to the individual, you will share in the decision-making process and are actively involved in setting your treatment goals. 

Our treatment programs include education about your mental health disorder, education about substance abuse and how it affects your mental health, and therapy to help you develop coping strategies to deal with symptoms related to both your mental health and addiction. If you are ready to begin a life free of addiction and mental health symptoms, contact us at Crosspointe Recovery in Sherman Oaks today.  

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