Medical professionals refer to having a mental illness alongside a harmful chemical dependence as having a dual diagnosis, also known as co-occurring disorders. Many people who suffer from addiction have some mental illness due to addiction or as a pre-existing condition. One of the leading risk factors for developing an addiction is undiagnosed or untreated mental illness. Because of this, it’s important to find a facility like Crestview Recovery that offers dual diagnosis treatment.
One of the primary issues in the United States is that we don’t teach our youth about the importance of mental health. Many people don’t even know what the signs or symptoms of mental health disorders are. Without education about mental illnesses, people don’t know what to do when they feel different. This can be scary. It’s quite common for people to turn to alcohol or drugs to deal with the symptoms.
Some of the most common mental illnesses that co-occur with addiction include:
- Bipolar disorder
Understanding Anxiety with Co-Occurring Disorders
The most common mental illness that people with an addiction suffer from is anxiety. This disease can be entirely debilitating. The reason why anxiety is so common is that when a person develops an addiction, their whole life revolves around obtaining drugs. Unfortunately, many people don’t understand how anxiety works. It’s far worse than just experiencing stress.
Anxiety & the Amygdala
Anxiety affects a part of the brain that’s responsible for our natural fight, flight, or freeze response. For people who don’t have an anxiety disorder, a part of the brain called the amygdala activates when they’re in some kind of danger. Once the danger is no longer present, the amygdala de-activates, and the symptoms of anxiety dissipate. On the other hand, the amygdala doesn’t deactivate for people who have anxiety disorders. In addition, different forms of anxiety don’t need to have any type of specific trigger.
How Addiction Treatment Helps Co-Occurring Disorders
Without taking a look at your mental health issues in addition to your addiction, your chances of staying sober are very slim. As you saw with the explanation of how anxiety works, it’s very difficult to live a happy, fulfilling, sober life without treatment. The symptoms of anxiety, depression, and other mental illness can make it seem like drugs or alcohol are the best options. When you receive specific treatment for your mental illness, you have better options. Getting addiction treatment can help you and your entire family heal.
In an addiction treatment center, you’ll work in a private environment with a therapist who will help you overcome your co-occurring disorders. For some people, mental illness symptoms have a trigger, so you can learn how to avoid these triggers. Others have unavoidable triggers and have to use different methods to cope with their symptoms. In some cases, people in early recovery take non-narcotic medications for mental illness as well.
Mindfulness Meditation Therapy
The goal of treatment is to help you free yourself from substances. Mindfulness meditation therapy is an ideal way to achieve this. As a completely holistic practice, mindfulness teaches you how to regain control of your thoughts. Mindfulness is an ability that everyone has, but many people don’t know how to cultivate it. This practice involves learning how to accept whatever is happening in the present moment without judgment. Mindfulness involves the following concepts:
- Being present and coherent
- Letting go of judgment
- Being aware of but not consumed by feelings
Becoming familiar with mindfulness practices allows you to face your symptoms of anxiety or depression head-on. Some studies show that mindfulness is as effective as some of the best antidepressant medications. Other studies show how regular mindfulness practice improves concentration and reduces ADHD symptoms.
Spotlight on Fentanyl Addiction
In general, people with fentanyl addiction—or any addiction—are more likely to experience loss and other negative issues in their personal lives. Some addictive behaviors to watch out for include:
- Being rendered incapacitated
- Severe insomnia at night and exhaustion during the day
- Loss of control over the amount and frequency of fentanyl use
- Continued fentanyl use despite risks of self-harm or harm to others
- Financial, legal, or work troubles due to not being able to function
Addiction and mental health concerns affect relationships. It can also cause people to be unreliable when it comes to family, social, school, or work responsibilities. Constant failures because of this unreliability can lead to personal losses.
Cravings and Obsessive Behavior
Highly addictive drugs often inspire obsessive behavior. People with substance use disorder will develop both a dependency and a dependency on the drug. When this occurs, they will feel cravings more often and will need larger doses to achieve their desired effects.
Each time a person takes a dose of heroin, they associate the behavior with what they view as a positive reward—the high they experience due to the produced excess of feel-good dopamine and norepinephrine hormones—and increase their strength addiction.
Recovery Is Worth the Risk
If you’d like to learn more about mindfulness and other ways to begin healing from mental health and medication management concerns, call Crestview Recovery today at 866.262.0531.