The Relationship of Substance Use Disorder and Mental Illness

suicide and substance abuse, gateway treatment centersAt Gateway, we recognize that mental illness and Substance Use Disorder (SUD) often coincide. In fact, the presence of a co-occurring diagnosis is more the “rule” than the exception. The terms “dual diagnosis” or “co-occurring” refer to an individual that is affected by two or more disorders or illnesses.

The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) reports that 37% of individuals with alcohol use disorder and 53% of those with a drug use disorder also have at least one serious mental illness.

It is difficult to diagnose which came first – the SUD or the mental health disorder. Drug use can cause one to experience symptoms of mental illness. However, mental illness can also lead to drug use as a form of self-medication to manage symptoms. There are many overlapping factors that can make it difficult to detect the initial issue.

“There is no question that no matter which came first; both issues need to be addressed in treatment,” said Katie Stout, Executive Director at Gateway. According to reports from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the most common reason for relapse is an untreated mental health problem.

“The best chance of recovery is through an integrated treatment program that includes treatment of the SUD and the mental health illness,” said Katie Stout.

Evidence-based treatment for co-occurring disorders includes: motivational interviewing, mindfulness based therapy, trauma informed therapy and 12 step facilitation.

Gateway is a recognized leader among behavioral health care providers in offering substance use disorder treatment, as well as treatment for individuals that are diagnosed with a co-occurring mental illness. To learn more about our treatment programs visit us at RecoverGateway.org.

National Suicide Prevention Month in September: Suicide and Substance Abuse

In Honor of National Suicide Prevention Month in September and World Suicide Prevention Day on September 10th, Gateway aims to educate individuals on the relationship between suicide ans substance use disorders:

Article Written by Dr. Greg Tierney, Program Supervisor, Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment Centers

Suicide and Substance Abuse: Is There a Connection?

After depression, substance use disorders are the most common risk factors of suicide. Based on findings from psychological autopsies, 90% of those who complete suicide have one or more diagnosable psychiatric disorders at the time of death.

Roughly 1 in 3 people who commit suicide have substance use disorder.For those with a Substance Use Disorder, over 20% also have a diagnosed Depressive Disorder. The co-occurrence of these disorders relate to higher risk of suicide, greater functional impairment, and risk of having additional psychiatric conditions. The development and escalation of a substance use issue brings about consequences in all areas of an individual’s life.

Increasingly severe use of drugs or alcohol can cause losses such as losing a job, divorce, legal and financial problems, health issues, and others. Therefore, as a substance use issue becomes more severe, the rate of diagnosable Depressive Disorders increases significantly. Of the individuals entering substance abuse treatment, 40% have a Co-occurring Depressive Disorder.

Read Full Article at  RecoverGateway.org/Suicide

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