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May is Mental Health Awareness Month which provides us the opportunity to talk about mental health conditions and addiction. The rate of co-occurring mental conditions is higher among individuals who suffer from drug addiction than those who suffer from alcoholism at an estimated 72 percent and 45 percent, respectively.

What is Mental Illness?

Mental illness is a physical illness of the brain that causes disturbances in thinking, behavior, energy or emotion that makes it difficult to cope with the ordinary demands of life. Research is starting to uncover the complicated causes of these diseases which can include genetics, brain chemistry, brain structure, experiencing trauma and/or having another medical condition, like heart disease.

The two most common mental health conditions are:

Anxiety Disorders – More than 18% of adults each year struggle with some type of anxiety disorder, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder (panic attacks), generalized anxiety disorder and specific phobias.

Mood Disorders – Mood disorders, such as depression and bipolar depression, affect nearly 10% of adults each year and are characterized by difficulties in regulating one’s mood.

The Relationship Between Addiction and Mental Illness?

Mental health conditions are a common occurrence among those with a substance use disorder, but the data is sparse and variable. In individuals who suffer from alcoholism, up to 67 percent are also diagnosed with a mental health condition while up to 75 percent of those who are opioid-dependent receive a similar diagnosis. According to reports from addiction treatment providers, between 20 and 45 percent of those in recovery for addiction are diagnosed with co-occurring post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), giving further belief to the theory that traumatic experiences significantly increase one’s likelihood of abusing alcohol or drugs.

With such high rates of co-occurring mental health conditions among individuals struggling with substance addiction, researchers have come up with three theories as to how addiction and mental health conditions might be related.

  1. It's suggested that the development of substance addiction may trigger symptoms of mental health conditions, which is showed by the increased risk for psychosis among users of certain drugs.
  2. Mental health conditions may trigger substance abuse and develop into an addiction, which is demonstrated by the tendency of individuals suffering from depression, anxiety and psychological trauma to turn to substance abuse as a means of coping.
  3. Substance addiction and mental health conditions have shared or overlapping risk factors, which can include genetic or biological abnormalities, environmental triggers (stress or trauma), or some other factors such as brain development.

Addiction and Mental Health Treatment

Recognizing the importance of diagnosing and treating substance addiction and co-occurring mental health conditions, Florida Center for Recovery (FCR) offers individualized and specialized addiction treatment therapies to address both conditions to increase the chances of a successful recovery.

We offer innovative therapies to address the multidimensional aspects of the disease of addiction while teaching personal accountability in a safe, nurturing, real-life environment. As a trusted leader in addiction and mental health treatment, we pride ourselves in offering treatment programs that few other treatment centers provide including: Rapid Resolution Therapy, Chronic Relapse Program, Pregnant Women Program and Military/ First Responders Program.

For more information about our drug and alcohol rehab program and to explore treatment options, feel free to give us a call at (800) 851-3291. You may also visit our addiction treatment programs’ page for a better insight into our diverse comprehensive therapies.

Resources: National Institute of Mental Health Mental Health America

Category: Addiction and Mental Health on 7 May 2019

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