Mental illness is one of the most prevalent disorders that Americans face. In fact, every year, around 42.5 million Americans suffer from conditions such as Bipolar disorder, depression, or schizophrenia. Unfortunately, many of these individuals do not seek help for their mental illnesses and they remain untreated.
While many people with mental conditions may skip the doctor, they often self-medicate in order to relieve their symptoms. Many turn to drugs and alcohol in an attempt to control symptoms such as paranoia, depression, or insomnia. Sadly, even if a person with a mental illness does seek treatment, they may still abuse drugs in an effort to cope with the side effects of certain medications. For instance, if a drug causes restlessness, a patient may turn to marijuana for self-medicating purposes. All of these facts have lead to detrimental effects on those with both mental illness and substance abuse issues.
Dual Diagnosis Statistics
While about 13.2% of the general population abuses drugs, a recent study showed that almost 27% of the mentally ill population uses illicit substances. This statistic shows that mentally ill individuals are disproportionately impacted by substance abuse. Unfortunately, whether these folks are attempting to deal with symptoms of their disorder or side effects from medication, they are putting themselves at increased risk, when compared to the general population.
Sadly, this self-medicating trend frequently turns into an addiction. When drugs wear off, symptoms and side effects will return, and often with increased fervor. As such, these individuals will turn back to drugs in order to cope with the worsening impacts.
Of those individuals with mental illnesses, people who suffer from antisocial personality disorder, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and anxiety disorders are most likely to abuse drugs or alcohol.
More often than not, mental illness causes substance abuse, as opposed to substance abuse causing mental illness. The latter is typically only seen in individuals who chronically abuse substances over time. The long-term effects can alter the addict’s mind and body, making them feel dependent on the drug. Additionally, chronic abuse can lead to the inception of a latent mental illness, causing it to surface with the constant presence of drugs in the system.
No matter the causal relationship, however, 55.8% of those suffering from both disorders will never receive treatment for either condition. That means that over half of this susceptible population is still suffering today. Of the nearly 8.9 million people suffering from substance abuse and mental disorders, less than 7.5% of them will receive dual treatment.
Unfortunately, when treatment is received, separating and treating the dual conditions can prove difficult, that is why it is necessary for mental health issues to be addressed when an addict accepts help.
Treatment of Dual Diagnoses
Treatment for both of these conditions is essential to the long-term health and well-being of the addict. Without addressing both issues, relapse is a real possibility. As such, a proper treatment center will begin with a detox program. Once that aspect of treatment is complete, unique therapy and/or medications may be used to help the addict cope with the effects of both substance abuse and the underlying mental disorder. To get the best treatment, make sure to pick a facility that can accommodate those who suffer from these dual disorders.