Addiction is a cunning disease that can often make the person experience symptoms of mental illness due to the effects that substances have on the brain. It’s not uncommon for addicts to seek medical or psychiatric help for problems with anxiety, depression or mood swings without fully disclosing how much they’ve been drinking or using. This leads to doctors and psychologists prescribing medications that may only amplify the addict’s symptoms because they’ve been misdiagnosed. This can leave the addict scared and confused because their symptoms aren’t going away even though they’re taking anti-depressants, anti-anxiety or mood stabilizer medications.
There are cases though where an addict does have a legitimate mental illness, but it unfortunately cannot be treated until he has undergone medical detoxification and begun a life in sobriety. Mental illness is not only a large risk factor for becoming an addict, but it can also be one of the biggest relapse triggers when it’s not treated while the person’s in recovery. The good news is that whether the addict had a mental illness before or after their addiction progressed, there is hope for recovery from addiction and ways to treat mental illness without the risk of becoming addicted to the medications.
Mental Illness and Addiction
Mental illness happens when a person has some sort of chemical imbalance in their brain that causes them different symptoms depending on what their disorder is. These imbalances can cause them to be extremely anxious and become stressed, they can cause the person to be depressed and have a pessimistic outlook on life or cause them to have erratic mood swings. While these are some of the most common symptoms of mental illness, there are many more.
Most common mental illnesses and disorders:
ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder)
PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder)
When a person begins experiencing these symptoms of mental illness, they can begin to feel scared and alone. They tend to look at the rest of the world and wonder how everyone else is able to deal with life so easily while they’re having all of these problems. Sometimes when these people don’t seek some sort of help, they will turn to drugs or alcohol as a way to self-medicate. These mind-altering substances can make them feel normal, and it will become their only solution to their problems. The problem is that eventually, this solution becomes their primary problem.
Medical Detoxification and Treatment
It’s important for an addict that’s trying to recover to first go through medical detoxification. This will clear their mind and body of the substances they’ve been taking, and sometimes the person will even lose the mental illness symptoms they had once they have gone through medical detoxification for. In treatment, they will go through individual therapy where an addiction specialist will be able to find out if they do have a mental illness that must be treated as well. Although the tools each patient receives in rehabilitation treatment are very useful, sometimes these chemical imbalances must still be medicated.
There are sometimes mixed opinions about whether or not recovering addicts should undergo medical detoxification where they would have to take medications, but non-narcotic mental illness medications can sometimes be the only thing standing between a recovering addict and relapse. There are a variety of non-narcotic medications that treat different mental illnesses so that an addict can live a better life in recovery without the risk of becoming addicted to these medications.
If you’d like more information about treating a dual diagnosis, call our hotline today at 800-447-9081.