Anxiety and Addiction: It’s Crucial to Treat Both

– Posted in: Addiction, Anxiety

Junkie with bottle of alcohol and drugsDual diagnosis is a condition where a person suffers from a substance use disorder and mental health problem at the same time.

It is estimated that anywhere from 30 to 50 percent of people with an addiction suffer from a mental illness.

Doctors report that it is common for a person suffering from an anxiety disorder to also have an alcohol or drug addiction as well.

It is critical for people to get both disorders treated at the same time.


One of the reasons that people are unable to overcome a mental illness is because they use drugs and alcohol to self-medicate. They may also use drugs and alcohol to mask past trauma.

Even if a person is able to overcome an addiction, they will likely relapse if the mental problem is not treated. Many people relapse when they feel depressed and anxious.

Alcohol and Drugs Can Trigger Mental Illness

Although many people use alcohol and drugs to self-medicate, they can make the mental illness worse. Drugs and alcohol can also cause new symptoms to emerge.

Get to the Root Cause

One of the keys to overcoming an addiction is to get to the root cause of it. If both disorders are treated, then the professionals will be able to get to the root cause of the problem.

Patients will also be able to find out the relationship between their addiction and mental illness.

Additionally, they will be able to identify obstacles that make it hard for them to heal.

Learn How to Cope With Distress

Many people use drugs and alcohol in order to cope with distress.

People who receive treatment for dual diagnosis will be able to learn how they can cope with distress.

If people know how to cope with distress, then they will be less likely to turn to drugs and alcohol.

Identify the Triggers

It is estimated that anywhere from 50 to 90 percent of people relapse after they leave drug rehab. Many people will relapse within 90 days of leaving drug rehab.

If a person is suffering from a mental illness, then they will be even more likely to relapse.

One of the reasons that people relapse is because they do not know about the triggers. People who go through treatment will be able to create a plan to help them avoid the triggers.

Plan for the Future

If you are dealing with a mental illness and an addiction, then it can be difficult for you to plan for the future.

It can be twice as hard for you to hold down a job or go to school if you have dual diagnosis.

Getting both conditions treated will help you plan for the future. Your rehab team will help you set your goals.

Counseling and Support

If you are treated for dual diagnosis, then you will receive counseling and support. This will play an important role in your recovery. You have the option of attending both individual and group therapy.

It has to be Proven to Work

There have been a number of studies done to confirm that dual diagnosis treatment is effective.

Studies have shown that integrated treatment is more effective than treating each disorder by itself.

Researchers have found the following about treating mental illness and addiction at the same time.

  • Reduced substance abuse
  • Decreased hospitalization
  • Increased quality of life
  • Fewer arrests
  • Increased housing stability
  • Improvement in psychiatric symptoms

Treatment of the Mind, Body and Soul

Many treatment programs take a holistic approach.

In addition to getting therapy and medication, you will also be able to participate in meditation, nutritional counseling and yoga.

All of those things can help you live a substance-free lifestyle.

Peter LangPeter Lang is a freelance writer from Atlanta, Georgia. In recovery himself, he is dedicated to helping others who struggle with drug and alcohol addiction. He occasionally writes for The Recovery Village.

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