Dealing with substance abuse is difficult on its own but it can become more challenging if mental illness is present. When both mental illness and a substance use disorder (SUD) happen concurrently, an individual is said to have a co-occurring disorder or a dual diagnosis. This requires integrated treatment to manage both conditions simultaneously.
The Co-Occurrence of Mental Illness and Alcohol Abuse
Co-occurring disorders are relatively common where those struggling with SUD also have to deal with mental health conditions including depression and anxiety. The relationship between the two is often complex and bidirectional.
Individuals who are dealing with mental health issues may sometimes turn to alcohol to numb their symptoms, relax or calm themselves or even to help them sleep. This self-medicating may lead to more problems. Since alcohol is a depressant, these individuals may experience even worse symptoms when the effect of drinking wears off, exacerbating their mental illness.
On the other hand, some individuals may start with an alcohol use disorder and develop a mental health issue as a result. Alcohol is known to harm the brain, leading to the suppression of dopamine and other neurotransmitters that may regulate mood. When the high wears off, individuals may experience anxiety, restlessness, agitation and even depression. This may tempt them to drink some more to alleviate these symptoms, trapping them in a vicious cycle.
The Role of Alcohol Treatment Programs
Alcohol treatment programs are crucial for providing comprehensive care for those struggling with co-occurring disorders. They play the following role in treatment:
Dual Diagnosis Assessment
Before treatment can begin, a thorough assessment is required to identify the specific mental health condition and the severity of substance abuse. This helps treatment professionals to design an individualized treatment plan.
Alcohol treatment programs are ideally placed to provide integrated treatment that simultaneously addresses mental illness and alcohol abuse. This typically involves the use of individual and group therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), holistic practices and medication.
In some cases, it may be necessary to use medication to help manage cravings and symptoms to ensure the individual is comfortable during treatment.
Providing Supportive Services
Many alcohol treatment programs also offer support services including relapse prevention strategies, education on the interaction between alcohol and mental health as well as resources for families. The aftercare program may include peer support groups and 12-step meetings for additional support and motivation.
Overcome Addiction with Our Support
Battling both SUD and mental illness is nothing short of challenging. However, with the right combination of therapy and holistic treatment, it’s possible to regain control of your life. At Impact Wellness Network, our goal is to help anyone struggling with addiction find a path to lasting recovery.
We offer top-rated addiction treatment and a full continuum of care from detox to inpatient treatment and aftercare at our Midwest treatment centers. With locations in Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky, we are ideally positioned to ensure that those seeking our services can easily access them. Contact us today for comprehensive and compassionate treatment to help you reclaim your life from addiction.