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 In Addiction, Mental Health


Sometimes, there’s more to substance addiction than what meets the eye. Usually, personal problems form the basis for addiction. The notion that most people become addicted because of their pursuit of the euphoria drugs create is disingenuous. At the point when the addict took that first hit or drink, there was something going on that prompted the individual to do so.

Of course, some people get started with drugs or alcohol out of curiosity. They decide to experiment in an effort to figure out what the fuss is all about. Still, there’s something about drug and alcohol addiction that evolves beyond experimentation. The reality is people do things that risk their well-being because something is not right within their body, mind, and/or soul.

A More In-depth Look at the Causes of Addiction

The need to medicate is usually a response to the existence of pain or personal problems. When someone gets a prescription for painkillers to combat pain issues, they have a legitimate reason to use opioids. When they start using their medications in ways not intended, the do so because they are combating more than simple pain issues. This is a common pathway among people who end up addicted to their prescription medications.

On the other end of the spectrum are the recreational drug users who use drugs illegally. They get their drugs illegally from the streets and often take illicit substances that have absolutely no medicinal value. In some cases, these drugs can be downright dangerous. When you see statistics about the current opioid epidemic and mass overdose issues from Fentanyl abuse, you can only begin to get a sense of the scope of the US’ drug addiction problem. It’s quite possible the country could start having difficulties meeting current demands for drug treatment centers. These individuals become addicts through their own actions

There is a third group of addicts that warrant discussion. These are the people who are dealing with co-existing conditions where one condition is an addiction and the other one is some type of psychological condition or disorder. It’s difficult to get a grip on this particular group. The best way to learn about how addiction affects these people is to look in-depth at how the two conditions interact with one another.

When the Psychological Problem Prompts the Addiction

In this instance, psychologists and addiction treatment experts would agree that the psychological condition is primary. A good example would be a bipolar disorder. Someone with a diagnosed manic/depressive illness could get caught in addition in one of two ways.

In the first instance, prescription medications would be considered the culprit. Let’s say a psychiatrist prescribes Xanax or Trazodone. Both drugs have addictive properties. In most cases, the patient will usually start out taking their medications as their doctor prescribe. Over time, the patient, who may not be in their right-mind, might decide to start self-medicating by either taking larger doses or taking their medication more often. If this behavior persists over time, an addiction to the medication becomes likely. Admittedly, the individual would have to resort to illegal activities to get extra drugs. The fact they would do this only supports the contention they have an addiction.

In the other instance, patients can become accidentally addicted to their medications. Even under the watchful eye of a physician or psychiatrists, people could be predisposed to a high tolerance for certain medications. As the doctors continue to adjust doses and medications, there could come a time when addiction becomes apparent. The fine line would seem to be the onset of withdrawal symptom should the patient miss a dose or continue to need higher doses to avoid health issues related to withdrawal.

When Drug and Alcohol Addiction Prompts Psychological Problems

There’s no denying that many drugs, particularly illicit drugs, can be harmful to humans. It’s not much of a stretch to state that sometimes, drug abuse causes psychological problems.

To verify this notion, one only needs to look at the side effects caused by certain drugs. While most drugs carry serious possible side effects, this discussion will focus on opioids. Some of the known opioid side effects would include depression, anxiety, anger, and suicidal thoughts. What if those conditions were to become chronic because of extended drug abuse? In fact, that is exactly what happens to some individuals.

About Dual Diagnosis Treatment

So what happens if someone enters rehab with co-occurring disorders? Most top drug treatment centers have the ability to offer dual diagnosis treatment. This type of treatment goes beyond standard mental health rehabilitation.

The key to providing effective dual diagnosis treatment is treating the drug and alcohol addiction at the exact same time treatment is given for the psychological issues. What treatment specialists have learned over the years is patients are more likely to relapse if both issues aren’t treated at the same time.

Here’s a scenario that clarifies the idea. If someone were to go through addiction treatment, establish recovery and then head out for mental health rehabilitation, there’s a high likelihood the ever-present psychological problems will interfere with recovery because those old stinking feelings still exist. Likewise, it would be nearly impossible to treat psychological problems while a patient is taking illicit drugs or showing up for an appointment under the influence.

Realistically, the only way to avoid either of these scenarios is to address both problems at the same time. While the addiction professionals are dealing with addictions issues, qualified mental health professionals are looking into the patient’s psychological issues. This approach is extremely important because of the fact medication is often the only way to deal with mental health issues.

The relationship between addiction and psychological issues creates a rather tenuous situation for both the patient and their doctors and counselors. The parties involved will find the best possible solution during dual diagnosis treatment. Success is mandatory in order to make sure patients don’t face the prospects of a life of relapses and distress.

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