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The Link Between Mental Illness & Addiction

Woman showing signs of stress from mental illness and addiction
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The Link Between Mental Illness & Addiction

The link between mental health and addiction is undeniable. Mental health issues and addiction go hand in hand, as people with mental health disorders may resort to using drugs to cope and alcohol to mask sadness and uneasiness. Whatever mental health issue and substance combination, there is often a correlation.

What is Mental Illness?

The American Psychiatric Association defines mental illness as a “diagnosable mental disorder that causes significant changes in thinking, emotion and/or behavior, or distress and/or problems functioning in social, work or family activities.”

And it is more common than you may think. Nearly one in five U.S. adults experience some form of mental illness, and four percent have a serious mental illness that interferes with major life activities.

Mental Illness and Addiction

  • Over 1 in 4 adults with a serious mental illness, also develops a substance use disorder.[1]
  • In 1987 the Alcohol Drug Abuse and Mental Health Administration (ADAMHA) reported that at least 50% of the 1.5 to 2 million Americans with severe mental illness abuse illicit drugs or alcohol as compared to 15% of the general population.
  • When those suffering from mental illness also struggle with addiction, the mortality rates rise, cutting 10-20 years off a person’s life expectancy. [2]

Without the right professional help, someone suffering from mental illness often uses drugs and alcohol to cope with their symptoms over them up altogether. Because one condition may affect the other, it’s important to address both during a recovery program.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment for Mental Illness and Addiction

Dual diagnosis is the type of addiction treatment that addresses the mental health issues as well as the substance misuse issues at the same time. During the initial assessment, the patient and treatment professionals discuss existing mental health conditions like anxiety, depression, and others as well as the types of substances that have become problematic. From there treatment programs are customized to work through all issues impacting substance misuse and recovery.

Wasatch Crest Recovery is one of the treatment centers Utah has available, that provides co-occurring treatment programs so all conditions and all substance addictions can be treated at the same time and give you the greatest chance of a successful recovery and healthy life after rehab.

Mental illness is nothing to be ashamed of, and with the right help you can manage its impact and move forward with living a healthy and functioning life.

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