Substance Abuse and Mental Health in New Jersey

If you live in New Jersey with a mental health issue, there is a high risk that you might start abusing drugs and alcohol. this is because you will be looking for a way to self-medicate the symptoms and effects of this condition.

Although this could work - at least in the short term - you may end up struggling with other adverse symptoms. These include but are not limited to drug and alcohol tolerance, dependence, and addiction. At this point, you could be said to be struggling with a dual diagnosis.

A dual diagnosis occurs when you experience a substance use disorder and struggle with a co-occurring mental health disorder at the same time. Using drugs while dealing with a mental disorder can only mask your symptoms temporarily. The truth, however, is that these substances will not lessen the effects of your mental illness. Rather, they will make an already bad situation much worse than you thought.

O the other hand, using alcohol and drugs excessively could cause you to develop mental health disorders when none existed before. These issues will only continue worsening as your substance abuse persists.

Irrespective of the disorder that preceded the other, it is essential that you get both of them treated concurrently. This is the only way you will be able to achieve long term recovery from all these disorders.

Co-Occurring Substance Abuse and Mental Health Disorders

The NBER - the National Bureau of Economic Research - reports that people in New Jersey struggle with dual diagnosis disorders at the same rates as others across the United States. The same research shows that there is a connection between substance abuse and addiction and mental illness.

Also known as a co-occurring disorder, a dual diagnosis can be difficult to spot. This is because the symptoms of your addiction might mask the effects of your mental illness. The reverse can also happen.

If you have a mental health disorder, you might abuse substances like alcohol and drugs to cope with the symptoms and effects of this disorder. For instance, if you constantly feel anxious you may take these substances to bring feelings of calm and peace.

Unfortunately, turning to alcohol and drugs will not address your mental health disorder in the long term. Instead, it could prevent you from developing the coping skills that you need to manage this disorder. Further, you may end up having difficulties finding and maintaining satisfactory relationships.

In the same way, if you have been using medications to treat your mental illness, using other drugs or drinking alcohol could interfere with your healing process. In the long term, it could also aggravate your problems.

Although you might develop an addiction before you suffer with a mental illness, most cases in New Jersey show that it is much easier to struggle with substance abuse as a result of a pre-existing mental health disorder. Luckily, there are support systems in place that could provide you with the integrated treatment that you need to manage both of these disorders and stop the ongoing and vicious cycle of illness that often accompanies a dual diagnosis.

That said, research studies conducted in New Jersey have reported that almost 50 percent of all the people in this state living with a mental illness also struggle with substance abuse and addiction.

While struggling with the debilitating effects of such a psychological disorder, you might start using drugs and drinking alcohol excessively to manage the pain that arises from your mental illness. Using this drugs could also prove effective because your present reality would be too overwhelming and painful for you to handle.

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However, ongoing substance abuse could only cause the problem to become much worse than it was before. If you stop using drugs and alcohol, you might even experience debilitating symptoms and your overwhelming reality will come rushing back.

Common Mental Health Problems Associated with Drug Abuse in New Jersey

In New Jersey - as in the rest of the United States - people who live with a mental health disorder have twice as high a likelihood as those who do not to abuse drugs and alcohol and end up suffering from an addiction or a substance use disorder. Using alcohol and drugs could also cause you to develop a co-occurring mental or behavioral health disorder.

There are many different types of co-occurring disorders that the residents of New Jersey struggle with. For instance, alcoholics often deal with antisocial personality disorders. Unfortunately, getting a diagnosis would mean that you would also receive prescription medications. This could prove dangerous if you are also living with a co-occurring alcohol use disorder.

That said, most of the facilities that offer drug and alcohol treatment programs as well as mental health recovery services in New Jersey can help you overcome your dual diagnosis or co-occurring disorders.

Even so, it is now reported that almost 40 percent of all the residents of this state living with an alcohol use disorder also struggle with another co-occurring mental illness. The same report shows that over 50 percent of all residents struggling with drug abuse and addiction also deal with these co-occurring disorders.

These numbers are startling especially when you consider that very few of these people seek treatment that can help them overcome their addiction and mental health disorders and achieve long term recovery.

That said, there are some mental health issues that tend to lead to substance abuse more commonly than others. In New Jersey in particular, the mental health disorders that can drive addiction or that tend to be exacerbated by drug and alcohol use include but are not limited to attention-deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD), bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, depression, eating disorders, generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), schizophrenia, depression, generalized anxiety disorder, eating disorder, bipolar disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, personality disorder, schizophrenia, and panic disorder.

In most of these cases, it seems that the mental illnesses tend to be the problem that underlies the substance abuse. As such, the drug taking and alcohol drinking often manifests itself as one of the symptoms of these illnesses. this is why addiction treatment programs often offer integrated dual diagnosis rehabilitation options to ensure that their patients are able to achieve successful recovery over the long term.

This is because dual diagnosis often requires highly specific treatment that is different from what you would typically receive if you were just struggling with addiction or mental illness without these issues co-occurring at the same time.

As a result, an integrated treatment process can ensure that you work with professionals who understand the addictive behaviors and complex psychological problems that you might be struggling with. In this understanding, they can also ensure that you receive the treatment options that can facilitate a comprehensive and full recovery over the long term.

Types of Treatment

According to the NSDUH - the National Survey on Drug Use and Health - for 2018, more than 9.2 million adults in the United States live with dual diagnosis of addiction and co-occurring mental health disorders. Due to the fact that these co-occurring disorders are so common, there are treatment centers that now offer programs that are specifically designed to manage these issues.

If you are dealing with a dual diagnosis and you only seek addiction treatment, there is a high risk that you will relapse back to substance abuse. This is because your untreated mental health condition could cause you to continue self-medicating to ensure that you manage the symptoms that it causes.

On the other hand, if you are addicted to drugs and alcohol and also living with a mental illness and you only seek treatment for this mental health disorder, you might end up achieving recovery for the short term. Over time, however, your ongoing substance abuse could cause the mental illness to recur.

Due to this, it is recommended that you seek integrated dual diagnosis treatment that manages both of these conditions. By so doing, you will get the opportunity to work with treatment providers and professionals who understand the relationship between these disorders and how each of them affect the other.

For instance, if you are struggling with depression and have been self-medicating by drinking alcohol, your continued alcohol use could worsen the symptoms of this mental health disorders. This is because alcohol acts as a depressant drug.

In such a situation, the alcoholism as well as the underlying depressive disorder would have to be treated individually but simultaneously. In case you do not receive treatment for both of these disorders, your worsening depressive symptoms could cause you to continue drinking even after going through a recovery program.

Through integrated dual diagnosis intervention, you will receive help for the all the disorders that you have been diagnosed with. As a result, these disorders will be effectively managed to ensure that they do not recur or lead to a relapse later on.

Some of the recovery options that would be typically provided at an integrated dual diagnosis treatment center in New Jersey include intensive therapy, supportive housing, group therapy, medication management, individual therapy, couples counseling, self-help and other support groups, relapse prevention, aftercare planning, addiction education, and couples counseling.

Learning what treatment is best for you or your loved one is easy. Speak to one of our trained counselors and let them guide you to the best treatment options available for your specific needs.


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