Alcoholism and Drug Addiction Risk Factors and Treatment

Substance abuse related mental health disorders often lead to substance abuse; substance abuse can also lead to mental health disorders. This is known as comorbidity and it makes a difficult issue even more complex. Current estimates are that more than 50% of adults who are facing one of these issues – a mental health disorder or addictions – will face both at some point in their journey.

This guide gives you an overview of the issue including symptoms and where to find help. The costs and the place of medical insurance are covered below.

Common Mental Health Disorders and Substance Addictions

Here is a look at the most common mental health disorders found in those with comorbidity diagnoses.

  • Depression: This disorder causes chronic, persistent sadness and lethargy. Many sufferers turn to drug and alcohol abuse to “self-medicate,” hoping to feel better.
  • Bipolar Disorder: Bipolar sufferers who are having a manic episode are the most likely of all those with mental health disorders to engage in alcoholic behavior or abuse of drugs, whether illegal or prescription. The estimate is that more than 35% of those with bipolar disorder also suffer from addictions at some point in time.
  • Panic Disorders: The second-highest incidence of comorbidity is found in those who have panic attacks. The link is as high as 30%.
  • Anxiety Disorders: While not as common, as many as 25% of anxiety sufferers have drug or alcohol addictions.

Other mental health disorders associated with drug and alcohol addictions include social phobias, personality disorders, agoraphobia, post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD, antisocial disorders, sex addictions and ADHD.

Alcohol and Substance Abuse

These are the other side of the coin in co-diagnosis situations. Those with addictions to alcohol or drugs come to rely on them in order to be able to function – though in many cases their functionality is very poor.

Alcoholism is believed to contribute to depression and might worsen the effects of personality disorders and antisocial behavior.

Substance abuse takes many forms. The substance might be an illegal drug or a prescription drug used in an addictive manner. Drugs are often used to mask the emotional pain caused by mental disorders or to lessen the discomfort of anxiety or stress-related disorders.

Finding Help for Substance Abuse Related Mental Health Disorders

The good news for those suffering from substance abuse, mental health disorders or a combination of the two is that proven, effective treatment is available.

The first step is to speak with your doctor and discuss all of your symptoms – both of the addictions and the mental health disorders. In most people, it is necessary to start by addressing the substance addictions. This will involve detoxification to remove the drugs and/or alcohol from your system.

Most drug and alcohol rehabilitation professionals understand those with dual-diagnosis very well and have developed effective treatments to address both the mental health problems and the addiction problems.

In rehab, individual and group counseling, educational classes and possibly medication will be part of the treatment. For some, family counseling is also an important part of the process.

For those with mental health problems, a psychological evaluation will be made too. The specialists working on each aspect of the problem will join together to develop a holistic treatment program designed to address “both sides of the coin.”

The Cost of Treatment and the Place of Insurance

Treatment that involves hospitalization is expensive. A dual diagnosis makes it more costly because more specialists will be involved in your care.

However, most health insurance now provides a significant level of coverage for mental health disorders as well as alcoholism and substance abuse rehabilitation. Talk with your doctor about your concerns. Find out the details of the coverage provided by your health insurance. Discuss the coverage you have with those providing your care, and they will work to tailor a program that is right for you.

While you will likely have out of pocket costs for your treatment, it is worth considering how much money your mental health issues and addictions are costing you. Keep that in mind as you take the courageous steps forward in getting treatment and finding relief.