October 10th marks World Mental Health Day every year. On this day we seek to raise awareness about mental health and the issues that plague millions of Americans. Mental health is one of the most important aspects of our lives.
There are a lot of stressors and traumatic experiences that shape and mold who we are. It’s important to know that you can always reach out and ask for help. Every year, millions of people struggle with mental illness (sometimes paired with substance abuse). Depression, anxiety, PTSD, and personality disorders are just some of the mental problems that continue to plague people across the globe.
On this day we can raise awareness about these conditions and push for change in our communities. 2020 has been a rough year with many economic and social challenges, this has affected many people negatively. With this in mind, it’s important to know that you aren’t alone. Our team at Coastal Detox and all those working hard in our communities are by your side.
Mental Health Disorders
Every year millions of people suffer from mental illnesses (also called mental health disorders). These disorders can affect different areas of a person’s life and can affect their entire livelihood. They can affect a person’s behavior, thinking processes, and a person’s mood. Some of the most common mental illnesses include:
- Anxiety disorder
- Bipolar disorder
- Clinical depression
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
Each of these affects the body and mind in a number of ways. Their symptoms can range anywhere from panic attacks, depression, to reliving traumatic experiences. On World Mental Health Day, it’s important we show those struggling with these disorders that they are not alone.
A supportive environment is one of the most important aspects of mental illness or substance abuse recovery. If a loved one or someone you know is struggling with a mental disorder, let them know they’re not alone. With the right treatment and moral support, a healthier mind is achievable and possible.
Mental Illnesses and Substance Abuse
Unfortunately, there is a direct connection between mental illness and drug addiction. Oftentimes, those struggling with mental health disorders may turn to drugs or alcohol. They may take drugs or alcohol to self-medicate and cope with their past experiences.
Mental illnesses can take a toll on a person’s life and can eventually lead to drug addiction or substance abuse. After a drug addiction occurs a person will have a co-occurring disorder. A co-occurring disorder (or dual diagnosis) occurs when a person develops a drug addiction while struggling with a mental illness.
What tends to happen is the symptoms of the mental disorder only worsen after drug abuse. Substance abuse and alcohol consumption only exasperate the mental disorder. In some cases, this abuse can also lead to risky and dangerous behavior (like in cases of bipolar disorder). Today, we’ll be taking a closer look at alcoholism and mental illness in America.
Alcoholism and Mental Health Disorders
Alcoholism (also referred to as alcohol use disorder) is a condition that occurs when a person cannot control their alcohol intake. Alcohol essentially takes control of someone’s life as they begin to experience problems because of their drinking and grow tolerant of it.
So how does this relate to World Mental Health Day? Alcohol is a drug that many people turn to when they are struggling with a mental illness. On this day, it’s important to understand how mental illness can devolve into something much worse when drugs are involved. Knowing the signs of alcoholism and their effects on someone with a mental disorder can make a big difference.
When consumed, alcohol suppresses the central nervous system (CNS) which brings out underlying feelings. People drink to mask the symptoms of their mental health disorder, whether it be depression or traumatic stress. But what tends to happen is the opposite of their desired effect. Drinking is never the solution and can’t substitute for professional help and treatment.
Symptoms and Signs of Alcoholism
If a loved one is struggling with a mental disorder it’s important to be aware of the signs of potential addiction. As with all disorders and addiction, there are a few telling signs that someone may be struggling with alcoholism. Some of the common red flags include the following:
- Unable to control how much alcohol they’re drinking
- Strong cravings to drink alcohol
- Decreased performance at work and at school
- Losing interest in hobbies and usual activities
- Building a tolerance to alcohol (needing to drink more for its effects)
- Spending large amounts of time drinking and getting alcohol
- Experiencing the withdrawal symptoms of not drinking alcohol (nausea, shaking, sweating, etc.)
- A desire to stop drinking so much but failing to do so
Symptoms of alcoholism can be severe and dangerous in some cases. This is especially true if the person is already dealing with a mental health disorder. Alcohol use disorder symptoms include:
- Heart problems
- Risky and agitated behavior
- Slurred speech and coordination
- Other long-term effects like diseases or death
Alcoholism continues to be an issue that affects millions of people every year. It is one of the most commonly abused drugs when it comes to those with mental illnesses. If you are concerned that a loved one may be struggling with alcoholism, now is the time to get help. Coastal Detox works to help both your mental illness and drug addiction with our trusted dual diagnosis program.
Alcoholism and Mental Health Statistics
The numbers show a lot about alcoholism and its connection with mental health disorders. According to a number of surveys conducted, alcohol consumption has doubled over the past 50 years ( 90% of adults aged 16-64 drink at least occasionally). The numbers also show a strong connection between alcohol consumption and previous mental illness.
The numbers say a lot about how alcohol affects those with mental health disorders:
- Research shows that people with alcohol dependency are more at risk of suicide, have higher levels of depressive and affective problems, schizophrenia, and personality disorders
- As many as 65% of suicides have been linked to excessive drinking
- In 2014, 20.2 million adults in the U.S. had a substance use disorder and 7.9 million had both a substance use disorder and another mental illness.
- More than half of the people with both a substance use disorder and another mental illness were men (4.1 million).
- General population-based surveys have documented that the odds of developing a mood disorder and an anxiety disorder are 3.6 and 2.6 times higher, respectively if someone is dependent on alcohol
It has been proven that people turn to alcohol to relieve their depression and anxiety. There are many factors that can take a toll on a person’s life. Not to mention the number of effects alcoholism can have on the body and mind. Alcohol will never be the answer to a mental health illness.
Treating Mental Illnesses and Alcoholism
The best way to deal with a mental illness and alcohol use disorder is to get professional treatment. As part of World Mental Health Day, we’ll be taking a look at the treatment options for mental health disorders. Getting the proper treatment is always worth it and can be the key to a better life down the line.
As with most co-occurring disorders, both mental health disorders and alcohol use disorders would be treated separately. Here’s a closer look at some of the treatment options that rehab centers like Coastal Detox can provide.
Detoxification is the first step to any drug addiction treatment. It purges the body of substances and in this case, alcohol. This process helps dispel some of the withdrawal symptoms and sets the person up for recovery. At Coastal detox, we specialize in safe and effective detox with trained professionals by your side.
When it comes to treating mental illnesses and alcoholism, therapy is often one of the most effective tools. Individual or group therapy allows you to get to the root of your problem. Mental illnesses like PTSD and anxiety take patience and time to treat. Therapy is used to change how a person thinks about their illness/addiction and helps them welcome change and recovery. Common treatment options for both mental health disorders and alcoholism include:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
- Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)
- Individualized therapy
- Group therapy
When struggling with a mental illness or addiction, it’s important to have help at all times. Residential (or inpatient treatment) allows full treatment and recovery at a trusted facility. Co-occurring disorders like mental illness and alcoholism require time and access to staff at all times. You don’t have to go through this alone, let our team help you through the process.
The Importance of Mental Health
With so many stresses in our lives, it is sadly not uncommon to see so many cases of mental illness. Past traumas, traumatic experiences, abuse, addiction, anxiety, and depression can all be reasons for mental illness. It’s important, to be honest with ourselves and seek proper help today. No matter how deep in illness you may be, there are always ways to improve and recover with others. A happy mind is a happy life.
Get Help Today
If you or a loved one is suffering from a mental health disorder or alcoholism, it may be time to get help. At Coastal Detox we provide a number of treatment options for drug addiction and alcoholism. Contact us today to learn more about our treatment options.