Addiction is hard enough to deal with on its own. Adding another mental health issue to the mix just makes things more complicated. Addiction in and of itself is a mental health disorder, but it’s closely linked to other mental health issues, too. Today in the Ozarks Teen Challenge blog we talk more about this correlation.
It’s fairly common for an addict to be diagnosed with more than just a substance abuse disorder. Many addicts also deal with depression, anxiety, or other mental health issues. They may have already had the mental health problem before their addiction or they may have developed it afterward. Although one doesn’t necessarily cause the other, they do affect one another. Addiction can make mental health issues worse and vice-versa.
When you have more than one mental health issue, it’s known as a dual diagnosis. These issues must both be dealt with, but they have to be dealt with individually. For example, if someone overcomes their addiction, their depression doesn’t automatically go with it. Each disorder comes with its own set of problems and its own treatment plan.
Making the Diagnosis
Unfortunately, addiction can share some similar symptoms with other mental health disorders, meaning a dual diagnosis isn’t always made, even when it needs to be. That’s why it’s important to be familiar with the symptoms. If you see your teen developing symptoms outside of their addiction, they may have a co-occurring mental health issue.
These can happen after rehab too. Even after your teen gets the treatment they need for addiction, other mental health issues can still develop. This can put them in danger of relapse because their other issues could cause them to want to seek comfort in something familiar, like drugs or alcohol. By being familiar with symptoms of common co-occurring disorders like depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder, you can get your teen the treatment they need before it worsens.