Coping with a prescription drug addiction is challenging on its own. Some addictions, however, are accompanied by mental illness. In fact, a co-occurring mental health disorder affects about one-half of drug addicts, according to the National Alliance of Mental Illness. Known as a dual diagnosis, addiction and mental illness matter greatly when it comes to treatment.
The Relationship between Mental Illness and Prescription Drug Addiction
The relationship between co-occurring conditions is oftentimes complex. Someone with a mental illness, such as depression, anxiety or panic disorders, may begin to abuse prescription drugs in order to relieve the symptoms of the mental illness. For example, a prescription drug might replace depressive or anxious feelings with a temporary euphoric mood.
Whether the prescription drug allows the person to escape the symptoms of the mental illness or improve them, the drugs almost always make the situation worse. Once the effects of the drug wears off, a depressed person may have suicidal thoughts, or someone with a panic disorder may experience even more severe panic attacks. Unfortunately, when this occurs, the person often returns to the misuse of prescription drugs to try and get away from the symptoms of the mental illness.
In some cases, a prescription drug addiction can influence the development of mental illness. The effects of certain drugs can initiate the onset of a mental health condition that was not previously present, such as depression or psychosis. As is the nature of a dual diagnosis, the person gets trapped in a vicious cycle of trying to self-medicate the symptoms of mental illness, which worsens the prescription drug addiction.
Treatment for a Dual Diagnosis
The treatment for a dual diagnosis needs to be able to match the complexities of the relationship of the co-occurring conditions. This means that a recovery center specializing in dual diagnosis treatment is critical for successful recovery. Failing to treat both conditions will result in the interruption of any progress.
Untreated symptoms of mental illness will interfere with and distract from addiction recovery. Likewise, treatment for the mental illness will be unsuccessful if the addiction is put on the back burner to be dealt with later on. The effective treatment of a dual diagnosis requires that both conditions be addressed adequately at the same time.
The treatment of co-occurring disorders usually involves detox under medical supervision and counseling that addresses both the prescription drug addiction and the mental illness. Experienced staff can help people recovering from an addiction and a mental illness understand the relationship between the two conditions and ways to cope with both in a safe and healthy manner. Ultimately, treatment focuses on keeping an untreated condition from sabotaging the progress of the other condition.
If you feel trapped by a confusing mix of symptoms from a prescription drug addiction and a mental health disorder, contact the helpline at 800-447-9081 for help. Staff experienced with dual diagnoses are available to provide the guidance you need to begin recovery. You no longer have to face this alone. Call today and take the first step to getting your life back.