Drug addiction is a mental illness that changes your brain in fundamental ways. It disturbs the normal way of organizing needs and desires and substitutes locating and using drugs as the top priority. Compulsive behavior and lack of impulse control are the direct result, all of which are hallmarks of many other mental health disorders.
It has been found that many people who struggle with drug addiction will struggle with other mental disorders. This is described as comorbidity, which is a word that refers to two or more illnesses or disorders that occur in one person. Both conditions may present themselves at the same time, or drug addiction may conceal another mental illness or vice-versa. Frequently, someone who presents with a drug addiction will be comorbid with one of the following disorders:
- Bipolar Disorders
- Panic Disorder
In fact, people who are addicted to drugs are twice as likely to suffer from anxiety and mood disorders as people from the general population. A dual diagnosis of depressive disorders and drug addiction are the most common though, with the “Journal of Clinical Psychiatry” reporting that one in three adults who suffer from drug abuse will also suffer from depression.
Treating Comorbid Mental Health Conditions
It can be difficult to establish which disorder occurred first, although research suggests that drug abuse may bring upon symptoms of other mental illnesses and mental disorders can lead to drug abuse as “self-medication.” These disorders could also be caused by overlapping vulnerabilities in your genes, overlapping environmental triggers such as trauma, or prolonged stress. The rate at which those addicted to drugs are comorbid with another mental health illness calls for a comprehensive approach that will identify and treat both disorders.
Not only has addiction therapy proven to be an effective tool to control addictions, my approach to comorbid disorders will help you to:
- Spend time dealing with underlying issues that led to your comorbid conditions
- Provide you with self-help tools that will help to keep you healthy
- Work on controlling your drug addiction so that we can focus on any other mental health concerns.
If you have concerns about drug addiction or any other mental health concerns and are seeking a Long Island psychologist, please contact me today at (516) 732-0273. I am confident we can make important gains so that addiction no longer controls your life.