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Understanding the Connection Between Addiction and Mental Health

woman with head on hands thinking about the connection between addiction and mental health

Despite their stigma, mental health disorders are common across the United States. Stress, trauma, genetic traits, and life experience can all contribute to overall mental health and wellness. Unfortunately, mental health and mood disorders are frequently undiagnosed or misdiagnosed. This often leads to self-medicating, self-harm, and self-isolation. Studies show that at least half of people living with addiction also have co-occurring mood disorders, making dual diagnosis treatment programs vital to recovery.

If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction and mental health, NuLife Behavioral Health can help. Our dual diagnosis group therapy program in Massachusetts helps clients recover and thrive. Call us now at 888.568.2057 to learn more about the benefits of NuLife Behavioral Health’s addiction and mental health programs.

What Are Co-Occurring Disorders?

Understanding the connection between substance abuse and mental health starts with understanding mental health. Mental health is based on every aspect of your life. While your moods, thoughts, and feelings change from moment to moment, your mental health should remain somewhat stable. For those with co-occurring disorders, a lack of stable mental health can lead to substance abuse. Common co-occurring disorders treated alongside addiction include:

  • PTSD
  • Anxiety disorders
  • ADHD and ADD
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Depression
  • Mood disorders
  • Eating disorders

Co-occurring disorders get their name because they happen at the same time as other disorders. Most commonly, someone with a co-occurring disorder will develop an addiction to substance or behaviors like process addiction to social media or video games as a form of escape and self-soothing. Addictive behaviors provide the brain with a rush of dopamine, making it hard for those with mood disorders to stop using a substance or change their behavior. This is the brain’s natural response to dopamine, however, mood disorders can enhance these effects.

Do I Have a Co-Occurring Mood Disorder?

While the symptoms of co-occurring disorders vary from person to person, based on many life factors, there are some common signs you or someone you love is living with co-occurring disorders:

  • Trouble completing work tasks
  • Relying on drugs, alcohol, or addictive behaviors to self-soothe
  • Poor hygiene
  • Risk-taking
  • Mood swings
  • Erratic behavior
  • Sudden behavioral changes
  • Difficulty managing day-to-day life
  • Trauma survivor
  • Natural disaster survivor
  • Difficulty completing assignments in school
  • Trouble regulating the nervous system
  • Difficulty managing emotions
  • Self-isolation
  • Difficulty expressing emotions
  • Trouble concentrating

The diagnosis and treatment of mood disorders can be complex. A reputable addiction treatment program specializing in dual diagnosis is the safest, most effective way to holistically treat someone for mental health and addiction because they are inherently connected.

Get Back on Track with Dual Diagnosis Treatment in Massachusetts Today

For many, the diagnosis of a mood disorder can bring relief, making addiction recovery seem more manageable. Sometimes, treating mood disorders not only lessens addiction triggers but relieves them altogether. Because people often experience guilt and shame around addiction and mental health disorders, dual diagnosis treatment programs can help normalize both experiences and provide the necessary tools for recovery.

If you’re ready to make a change, the team at NuLife Behavioral Health can help. Our dual diagnosis treatment programs provide a range of outpatient treatment options and referrals for local residential and aftercare programs to help the Massachusetts community thrive. Our flexible programs provide a balance between care and community. No matter where you are with your mental health, our team can help you gain control of your life.

Call NuLife Behavioral Health Today to Learn More About Dual Diagnosis Treatment

If you’re ready to learn more about the connections between mental health and addiction, call NuLife Behavioral Health at 888.568.2057 to speak with an intake specialist.