Mental Health Issues and Substance Abuse Often Go Hand in Hand

mental health, substance abuse, dual diagnosis, co-occurringIn recognition of National Mental Health Awareness Month in May, proclaimed by President Obama in 2013, Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment Centers aim to help you better understand mental health issues, how they can relate to substance abuse, and the treatment options available.

If someone you know has an alcohol or drug abuse problem, it can seem like a huge issue in and of itself. Yet many individuals who have substance abuse problems also have mental health problems. In fact, the presence of a dual diagnosis is more the “rule” than the exception.

80% of individuals with addiction issues also have a co-occurring mental health issue.

What is Dual Diagnosis or a Co-Occurring Disorder?

It simply refers to two or more disorders or illnesses occurring in the same person. Among those with substance abuse problems, the most common co-occurring mental health problems include depression, anxiety and trauma-related issues. There is also a subset of individuals with more severe mental health problems, such as schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

It’s More Common than You Think.
Alcohol dependence is 4 times as likely to occur among adults that have a mental health problem.*

Using an Integrated Approach to Treat Dual Diagnosis

There is great interaction and influence between substance abuse and mental health problems in many individuals. That is why the most effective treatment of dual diagnosed disorders is called “integrated treatment.”

“At Gateway Treatment Centers, we use integrated treatment to address co-occurring substance abuse and mental health problems at the same time, in the same program by the same treatment team,” explains Dr. John Larson, Medical Director for Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment.”It’s imperative to treat these problems together, as an untreated mental health problem is a common cause of substance relapse. For example, a person who is depressed or anxious and is self-medicating with alcohol or other drugs may feel some very temporary relief, but this usually occurs at the expense of developing even more serious life and emotional problems.”

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 *National Survey on Drug Use and Health, SAMHSA 5/31/11

About Gateway Foundation Alcohol & Drug Treatment Centers
Every year Gateway Foundation Alcohol & Drug Treatment helps thousands of adults and teens get their life back on track and gives renewed hope to those who care about them. With 50 years of treatment experience, our specialists take the time to understand of the specific needs of each individual. We then develop a customized treatment plan with recommendations for the most appropriate care based on an individual's substance abuse and mental health history. As the largest provider of alcohol and drug abuse treatment in Illinois, Gateway has 11 treatment centers throughout the state. Gateway outpatient and residential substance abuse treatment programs are not one-size fits all, but unique treatment plans that give an individual the highest chance for a successful outcome. With insurance acceptance and a track record of success, Gateway Treatment Centers help thousands of individual’s successfully complete treatment each year, and find the hope they need to live again.

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