Much like other addiction treatment facilities around the country, recovery programs near Atlanta recognize that there’s a link between addiction and mental illness. Previously, the two conditions were considered separate problems to be treated by different caregivers, but more recent research has found that more progress is made by treating the addiction at the same time that the mental illness is treated. Since both conditions are treated simultaneously, the possibility of recovery is improved.
A recent survey, which was conducted by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), confirmed that there is a real link between mental illness and substance use. Analyzing the results of their survey, they found that those diagnosed with a mental illness were responsible for a significant portion of alcohol, drug, and cigarette usage. Specifically, those suffering from mental illness represented the following rates of consumption:
- 38% of total alcohol consumption
- 44% of known cocaine consumption
- 40% of cigarette consumption
Does Addiction or Mental Illness Come First?
There’s no definitive answer to this question because every situation is different. For some, mental illness comes first. Conditions like depression, bipolar disorder, or schizophrenia cause severe symptoms to develop and the individual turns to drugs or alcohol to keep those symptoms under control. Unfortunately, this type of self-medicating is only a temporary solution. When the individual comes down from their high, those symptoms return and may be more severe. This creates a cycle that leads to addiction.
Alternatively, the substance abuse can be the cause or the catalyst for the development of mental illness. For instance, someone who drinks heavily may put themselves in dangerous situations in which they may ultimately be assaulted or raped. As a result of the attack, the individual may suffer from PTSD, anxiety, and depression, which only pushes them to self-medicate with alcohol or drugs more frequently. Again, this causes a cycle to develop that ultimately leads to excessive substance abuse and addiction.
Why Must Both Conditions Be Treated Simultaneously
In the past, one condition was typically treated first and the patient was referred to another caregiver who specialized in treating the other condition. Typically, women would first seek help for their mental illness, while men were more likely to go through addiction treatment first. No matter how they went through the process, the results were often the same. The individual ended up turning to illicit drugs or alcohol to help manage symptoms and these relapses were often more severe than the first addiction experience.
Now that a link has been found between mental illness and addiction, many Atlanta rehabs have integrated psychological counseling into their addiction treatment programs. This way recovering addicts can work through their mental disorders and, at the same time, they’re learning coping skills as a part of their addiction recovery. By the time an individual has finished a comprehensive recovery program, they’re able to live a sober lifestyle and will continue to get professional treatment for their mental illnesses.
What is Treatment Like for a Co-Occurring Condition?
Upon entering an Atlanta addiction treatment center, you’ll be evaluated to determine if you do suffer from a mental illness. This requires being clean and sober, so going through a medicated detox is often a necessary first step. Once you’re clean, your symptoms can be evaluated and it can be determined if there is an underlying mental illness. If this is the case, a treatment schedule will include counseling for your addiction as well as therapy designed to address and treat your mental illness.
There are many different types of therapy used to address mental illness and the therapy used with you will depend upon your condition. Upon entering treatment, you’ll be assigned a therapist to treat your illness, so you will discuss the treatment with him. You may decide to try several of these methods or you may find that one type of treatment is especially effective. Some of the types of treatment that are widely used in Atlanta recovery programs include:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
- Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT)
- Assertive community treatment (ACT)
- Therapeutic community (TC)
- Contingency management (CM)
If you feel you’re struggling with addiction and you feel you may also be dealing with a mental illness, our counselors are available to talk with you. By calling 770-299-1677 day or night, you can discuss your situation with our counselors and learn more about treatment for co-occurring conditions. We can tell you about our services and help you start recovering as soon as possible.