A large section of the American population are living with various types of mental health problems, such as anxiety, depression, obsessive compulsive disorder and bipolar disorder, etc. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), an estimated 44.7 million adults aged 18 and above (18.3 percent of all American adults) are grappling with a mental illness in the United States. Unfortunately, a mental illness can make a person more vulnerable to substance abuse and vice versa, thereby increasing the risk of developing co-occurring disorders or dual diagnosis. However, the irony is that stigma and discrimination are preventing people from seeking help from psychologists and psychiatrists.
The increased prevalence of substance abuse has incredibly diminished the ability of individuals to contribute to nation building. A majority of youngsters addicted to drugs and alcohol become dysfunctional due to the impact on their neurobiological systems and other cognitive skills. The chronic abuse of drugs and other substances massively changes the brain chemistry, increasing the risk of paranoia, anxiety, depression and other mental health issues.
At the same time, people grappling with mental disorders tend to resort to substances for calming their agitated nerves and mind. Being more complicated than other diseases, the comorbidity of substance use disorder (SUD) and mental disorders needs a holistic treatment to treat the symptoms of both disorders.
In the wake of the growing menace of drug abuse, it is very essential to comprehend that drug-seeking behavior is not about moral or behavioral failing. Unfortunately, as per a recent poll conducted by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, despite around 53 percent of the respondents seeing prescription drug addiction as a disease, somewhere around 32 percent sees it as a character defect and around 44 percent perceived opioid addiction as a lack of willpower or discipline.
One of the first steps in the crusade against mental illnesses and SUD is to remove the stigma attached to these disorders. The taboo around meeting a psychiatrist or consulting a psychologist needs to be addressed strongly. The participation of psychologists in the health care system will widen the scope of treating mental disorders and SUD. Due to the growing incidence rate of dual diagnosis like alcoholism and depression, cocaine addiction and anxiety disorders, etc., it is necessary to combine a range of psychotherapies along with medications.
On the Psychology Day, observed every year on April 12, it is important to talk about addiction, associated mental illness and the stigma that stops people from approaching a psychologist. This year the U.N. focuses on understanding the detrimental consequences of climate change and natural disasters and ways to overcome by building resilient individuals and communities. All this is possible only when people come out in the open, accept and speak about the mental conditions, and seek appropriate help for building a healthy and better future.
Holistic treatment lead to road to happiness
The best way to address dual diagnosis is to intervene both the disorders – underlying mental conditions and addiction problem, simultaneously. Such coexisting diseases need a holistic treatment and adequate support of loved ones. It is often difficult to distinguish the symptoms of mental disorders from SUD. Therefore, in case of doubts, seek guidance from an expert. Rather than fearing segregation and discrimination, people going through such problems should feel free to consult a psychologist to understand the root causes and determine coping strategies.
If you or your loved one is struggling with dual diagnosis, contact Sovereign Health to access information on the state-of-the-art dual diagnosis treatment center near your location. Sovereign Health offers comprehensive and excellent dual diagnosis treatment to patients. Call at our 24/7 helpline number or chat online to know more about our various dual diagnosis treatment centers.