Substance Abuse and Mental Health in Washington

If you live in Washington with a substance use disorder - or an addiction - involving prescription pain relief medications, illicit street drugs, or legal substances like alcohol - your life will quickly spin out of control. This is because you will be dealing with the symptoms and effects of your addiction to drugs and alcohol.

However, there is also a high risk that you may also be struggling with an undiagnosed mental health disorder. This is because addiction and mental illnesses tend to occur at the same time - and affect and aggravate each other. When this happens, it is commonly referred to as a dual diagnosis.

Dealing with any of these disorders - whether substance abuse or mental illness - can be difficult in and of itself. However, when you have a dual diagnosis of addiction as well as a co-occurring mental health disorders, your life will eventually become unmanageable. This is unless you seek integrated dual diagnosis treatment services.

Co-Occurring Substance Abuse and Mental Health Disorders

A dual diagnosis occurs when you are struggling with both a mental health issue like post-traumatic stress disorder or a sleep disorder as well as a substance abuse and addiction problem. It can be difficult to deal with any of these issues but in combination they are doubly difficult to manage.

This is because living with a dual diagnosis means that both the addiction as well as the mental health disorder will cause they own unique set of symptoms and effects. As a result, you might not be able to function properly in your day to day life, interact well with others, or manage your routine responsibilities and obligations at home, work, and school.

To further make an already bad situation worse, these co-occurring disorders often affect and even aggravate each other. For instance, if you leave your mental illness undiagnosed and untreated, your substance abuse problem will only worsen. On the other hand, increasing your substance abuse and addiction will only lead to other adverse mental health symptoms over and above the mental illnesses that you are already struggling with.

While these disorders will not improve if you ignore them - but only continue getting much worse than they used to be - it is still important to realize that you do not have to continue suffering. There are some steps you can take to overcome all of these disorders. However, the most important step would involve checking into an integrated dual diagnosis treatment center.

You should also realize that mental illnesses and substance use disorders are intertwined intricately. These substances are so common in states like Washington that they are often the reason behind the development and worsening of the other - especially if you leave them untreated.

A dual diagnosis, to this end, will occur when you are living with a substance use disorder as well as a co-occurring mental health disorders. Some of these mental issues that might arise in the course of your addiction or even cause you to become addicted to drugs and alcohol include stress, post-traumatic stress disorder, trauma, personality disorders, mood disorders, depression, codependency, bipolar disorders, attention disorders, anxiety, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder

You might develop mental or emotional disorders even before you start using alcohol and drugs. however, these disorders could increase the likelihood that you will turn to these intoxicating substances to self-medicate the symptoms caused by the mental anguish and pain that you experience.

Although you might be able to relieve some of these symptoms and adverse effects, eventually you will find that you have developed other additional psychological and behavioral symptoms linked to your ongoing addiction.

On the other hand, you might not display any symptoms of mental illness before you start using drugs and alcohol. in the course of your substance abuse, however, you will display adverse effects that are similar to those caused by mental illnesses. eventually, you may even develop a diagnosable mental health disorder.

Common Mental Health Problems Associated with Drug Abuse in Washington

There are many people living in Washington with a dual diagnosis involving alcohol and drug addiction and a co-occurring behavioral or mental health disorder. This is not entirely surprising especially when you consider the fact that there are some drugs that can cause you to develop a mental health disorder - or worsen the symptoms and effects of an undiagnosed psychological problem that existed before.

That said, substance abuse and mental illnesses often occur at the same time in the same person. This is because there are intoxicating and mind altering substances that can cause you to develop the symptoms of a mental illness if you abuse them.

On the other hand, your mental illness could cause you to abuse these substances. This is because you would be trying to self-medicate the symptoms of the illness. Eventually, however, this form of self-medication will only lead to the development of a substance use disorder over and above the mental health disorder that you have been struggling with.

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That said, both addiction and mental health disorders tend to share similar underlying causes. These causes include but are not limited to early exposure to trauma and stress, genetic vulnerabilities, and changes in the composition of the brain.

According to research studies, about 25 percent of all the adults living in Washington with severe mental health disorders also have problems linked to the abuse of drugs and alcohol. however, there are certain mental illnesses that tend to occur at the same time as addiction more frequently than others. Examples of these disorders include depression, anxiety disorders, schizophrenia, and personality disorders.

These disorders - both substance abuse and mental illness - can affect you irrespective of your age, socio-economic background, or status in life. These illnesses are often common and recurrent as well as quite severe. However, they can be treated and you should be able to achieve full recovery as long as you are enrolled in the right rehabilitation program.

That said, these co-occurring disorders can affect how you make your choices and decisions as well as your interactions with other people. They can also cause changes in your behavior, mood, and thinking patterns.

According to the NIMH - the National Institute for Mental Health - more than 50 percent of the people who are enrolled in an addiction treatment facility in Washington for abusing drugs and alcohol also receive a diagnosis for an underlying emotional, behavioral, or mental health disorder.

Even so, the symptoms that these people will vary from one to the next. For instance, if you have been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, you might struggle with irritation, panic attacks, and overwhelming fear. On the other hand, if you have been living with depression, you may struggle with the effects of lost interest in the activities that you used to love and enjoy, hopelessness, and a lack of energy.

But which are the most common mental health disorders that tend to occur at the same time as addiction among people living with a dual diagnosis in Washington? Research studies show that these disorders include schizophrenia, personality disorders, mood disorders, and compulsive disorders.

Other statistics report that 53 percent of all addicts abusing drugs also struggle with a psychiatric disorder while 37 percent of alcoholics in the state also have at least one mental health disorder.

Another study showed that 70 percent of males and 80 percent of females who are addicted to drugs and alcohol experience the symptoms of anxiety - and used to even before they started abusing these substances.

Teens who have received a diagnosis for anxiety also have 3.5 times as high a risk of developing a substance use disorder later on in their lives. This is in comparison to other adolescents who did not receive such a diagnosis.

Patients struggling with a dual diagnosis of substance abuse and a co-occurring depressive disorder, on the other hand, have a risk of relapsing back into depression that is twice as high as those who do not abuse drugs and drink alcohol.

On the other hand, 47 percent of all residents of Washington living with a schizophrenic disorder also struggle with a co-occurring drug or alcohol abuse problem. This is at rates that are 4 times as high as those who are not living with such a disorder.

Types of Treatment

SAMHSA - the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration - reports that integrated dual diagnosis treatment is the best solution for co-occurring substance abuse and mental health disorders.

This is an evidence based and research proven model of treatment and rehabilitation that is offered in Washington as well as in surrounding areas. It has been found to be effective in the management of both addiction and mental illnesses.

Often, these disorders are treated simultaneously while also separately. Each of them is also treated as if it is the primary condition that presented itself before the other. By so doing, integrated dual diagnosis treatment centers in Washington help their clients achieve full recovery from all the disorders that they have been diagnosed with.

In most cases, these programs recommend that you receive such treatment on an inpatient basis. However, you can also seek help for both substance abuse and mental illness on an outpatient basis as long as these disorders are not severe enough to lead to a relapse of either.

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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