Drug abusers and alcoholics rarely start to use simply on a whim. They often suffer from deep underlying psychological challenges that compel them to numb their emotions with drug or alcohol.
Because their psychological existences are tied so closely to their dependencies, they often cannot gain total sobriety without addressing the emotional and mental distress from which they suffer. Rehabilitation professionals appreciate this fact and thus design their recovery programs to address not only physical wellness but also common mental health issues that addicts often suffer.
Major Depressive Disorder
Major depressive disorder is one of the most common mental illnesses from which people suffer today. It afflicts millions of Americans each year, many of whom go on to abuse drugs or alcohol in a bid to ease their symptoms.
Major depressive disorder itself is an umbrella term that covers individual psychological conditions like:
- Panic disorder
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
People who are diagnosed with major depressive disorder are at a higher risk of not only abusing drugs and alcohol but also committing suicide or self-harming.
Because of the link between major depressive disorder and substance abuse, rehabilitation professionals make it a priority to evaluate patients for this illness and treat them for it if necessary. Depending on the length of time that patients are in recovery, they may receive a number of treatments designed to ease the symptoms of their major depressive disorder. These treatments include individual therapy, group therapy, and cognitive or dialectical behavior therapy.
Many patients with this illness also benefit from taking medications like antidepressants and anti-anxiety medicines. People who are addicted to substances like heroine, cocaine, or methamphetamines often are not prescribed benzodiazepines. Benzodiazepines have addictive qualities themselves and are classified as controlled substances that could easily be abused if not taken as prescribed.
Bipolar disorder is another common mental illness from which drug addicts and alcoholics suffer. This mental illness is hallmarked with symptoms like:
- Excessive jumpiness
- Agitation or hyperactivity
- Exaggerated sense of self
- Excessive talkativeness
- Racing thoughts
- Poor decision making
Addicts with bipolar disorder will many times use drugs to calm themselves down or control their racing thoughts. They also may use drugs like speed or cocaine and alcohol in order to maintain their symptoms especially if they are fearful of calming down and not having the energy to get them through the day.
Borderline Personality Disorder
Borderline personality disorder or BPD affects millions of drug users and alcoholics. With this mental illness, sufferers often have distorted self-images and have no sense of themselves. They also often have no empathy for others and feel isolated, lonely, and empty. They may have difficulties starting and maintaining friendships and romantic relationships.
Many people with BPD also realize that their symptoms impede with their everyday lives. Because they are not sure of who they are and perhaps have no regard for their own well-being, they abuse drugs and alcohol in order to feel better about themselves. They may think drinking and using drugs is the only way they can make friends and avoid being socially awkward.
While a patient is in recovery, he or she can receive treatment for BPD. This treatment can include meeting with a therapist everyday for talk therapy and also taking part in group therapy sessions. Many people with this mental illness also benefit from taking antidepressants.
Schizophrenia is a mental illness that can compel some people to abuse drugs and alcohol. People with this condition many times lose their short term memories. They fail to recognize friends and relatives and may even forget who they are.
Because of their mental instability, they may purposely or accidentally abuse drugs and alcohol. Their bodies may be so dependent on these substances that they cannot get through a typical day without it. They also may inadvertently become dependent on the medications that are prescribed to them.
Patients who are diagnosed with schizophrenia are often connected with community resources like home nursing visits in order to keep them safe after they are discharged from rehabilitation. Depending on the severity of their mental illness, they may be referred to a group or nursing home where they can receive around-the-clock care and supervision.
Mental illness causes many people to descend into drug addiction and alcoholism. Overcoming addictions often require addicts to receive treatment for their mental health. Call us at 833-762-3739 to learn more.