Statistics show those who experience symptoms related to a mental condition are more likely to have developed or be diagnosed with a drug or alcohol addiction. This is referred to as having a co-occurring disorder or dual diagnosis. Unfortunately, many people who have a dual diagnosis do not get treatment for both conditions. They often tend to seek treatment only for the condition with the most unpleasant symptoms or the most urgent distress. 

Previously, medical and mental health providers believed that mental health and addiction needed to be treated in separate facilities using different treatment models. This belief made seeking dual diagnosis treatment nearly impossible. Consequently, many who struggled with a mental health disorder such as depression, anxiety, depression, etc., while addicted to drugs or alcohol would only receive treatment for one or the other. The inability to get the comprehensive treatment that addressed both illnesses often led to increased relapse. 

Are Mental Health and Addiction-Related? 

Fortunately, the outlook and understanding surrounding the relationship between mental health and addiction have changed. Recent data from the United States Department of Health and Human Services on co-occurring disorders indicate as many as eight million American’s suffer from a co-occurring disorder. 

Several theories have attempted to explain how mental health and addiction are related. Although there is no direct correlation showing one “causes” the other, research provides a clear link between addiction and new or worsening mental health symptoms and vice versa. First, the use of drugs or alcohol can worsen existing mental health conditions. If you have a diagnosed (or even undiagnosed) mental health condition and struggle with ongoing drug or alcohol abuse, it can increase the intensity and severity of your mental health symptoms. 

Also, struggles with mental health can lead to substance abuse and addiction. It is not uncommon for someone who experiences symptoms related to depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, or anxiety to turn to drugs or alcohol to alleviate their symptoms. This is referred to as self-medication, and although it may feel beneficial, it can lead to significant physical and psychological health struggles. With ongoing substance use, the structure and function of the brain change, making the user feel as though they need more and more of a substance to dull their mental health symptoms. Eventually, they cannot control their emotions, good or bad, without using drugs or alcohol. 

How to Treat Mental Health and Addiction at the Same Time

Treating mental health and addiction at the same time requires specialized treatment at a dual diagnosis treatment program. These programs are capable of addressing and effectively treating mental health and addiction simultaneously.  Because addiction is unique and everyone responds to treatment differently, your treatment program needs to be designed around your unique needs and goals. At Casa Serena, our Santa Barbara County based mental health and addiction treatment professionals will evaluate how long you have been using drugs or alcohol, the severity and frequency of your use, the impact of co-occurring mental health conditions, and any other pertinent medical needs that must be addressed as part of a comprehensive treatment program. Through this type of detail, an individual treatment plan and detox program can be designed for you.

Reach Out to Use Today at Casa Serena

If you would like to learn more about dual diagnosis treatment in Santa Barbara, contact us at Casa Serena today. Our admissions team is here to answer your questions. Our treatment team will work with you to design a comprehensive, evidence-based treatment program here at our women-only treatment center to help you overcome addiction while learning safer, healthier ways to manage mental health symptoms. Recovery from dual-diagnosis is not without challenges, but health and sobriety are within reach with the help of our caring and compassionate team here at Casa Serena. 

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