Substance Abuse and Mental Health
Hitting rock bottom is often the trigger to push someone towards sobriety, but to truly break an addiction the underlying cause has to be addressed. Drugs and alcohol are easy escapes to dull the thoughts and feelings we want to ignore. But those ‘escapes’ poison your body and your behaviors to hurt you in more ways than the mental health problem you may be trying to ignore.
Statistics on the overlap between mental health and substance use disorders show higher rates of the following comorbidities:
High Rates alongside Anxiety Disorders:
- Generalized anxiety disorder
- Panic disorder
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
High Prevalence alongside Mental Disorders:
- Bipolar disorder
- Psychotic illness
- Borderline personality disorder
- Antisocial personality disorder
Especially high overlap with Serious Mental Illness:
- Major depression
- especially likely to abuse drugs, alcohol, and tobacco
- Bipolar disorder
- Other disorders which cause serious functional impairment in daily life
The more severe the mental or anxiety disorder is, the higher the chance of self-medicating with drugs and alcohol. In many cases, the usage of drugs and alcohol can lead to developing new mental or anxiety disorders, or worsen existing disorders.
How to Find Recovery
Addiction and mental health problems must be addressed simultaneously to truly achieve recovery. The road ahead may seem difficult, but it’s been navigated before by others and the reward for reaching the end is worth it! Instead of seeing the battles of addiction and mental health as two enemies to face, realize that actions taken towards your healing tackles both of them at the same time. It is important to build on the momentum of counseling and group therapy to identify triggers of relapse and combat them when they rise up so that you come out on top. Keep your journey moving forward by reflecting inwards on what your addiction is trying to ‘protect’ you from, and which actions your addicted self wouldn’t engage in without the substance.
Detoxing is the First Step
A healthier, sober, more in-control version of you is waiting to be realized. It takes courage to ask for help, to be vulnerable with others, and to open yourself up to healing. But it is worth it. Even the difficult step of detox is worth the effort for your future self. It is difficult, but it can be done – and you are powerful enough to do it.
Detoxing alone is risky. Depending on the severity of your addiction, and how long it has had a hold on you, the symptoms experienced during detox can be life-threatening. It can be difficult to be open with those close to us and let them see us during our lowest moments. A professional care team has the experience of successfully helping others through the detox process. They’ve seen the symptoms, they know how to keep you safe, and they won’t judge you as you go through the process.
May is Mental Health Month
All over the U.S., more and more attention is being paid to mental health. Social media has opened up a wide platform for individuals to make their experiences heard by anyone willing to listen. With more open dialog about mental health, the negative stigma around it is reduced, more people share their stories, and treatment options are advanced.
As much as you may feel alone in your addiction, you must trust that others have suffered through similar experiences, and their stories can be a source of inspiration and hope towards your own recovery. Our partner organization, Family Life Center, is asking for people to share their stories of recovery and has submissions up for others to read and watch.
Take the First Step Towards Healthy & Happy
Going through detox is a difficult time physically and emotionally, but it is the required first step needed to get your life back under your control and out of the grasp of addiction. Emotional pains and mental health problems can feel raw during the recovery process. You’re working to rid yourself of the toxins you were using to dull the long-term emotional and mental pain. Like ripping off a band-aid it hurts, the wound is open to the air and everything feels harsh against it – but the wound needs to be aired out so it can breathe and heal. It needs to be seen and paid attention to with care so it can heal safely in the open and not risk further damage.