Complex mental health problems are difficult to detect and impossible to treat without professional help. That’s why it’s important to become more familiar with common mental health problems. Learning the basics of mental illness and drug abuse will help you guide your loved ones to treatment. This overview of dual diagnosis and the self-medication theory is a great place to start.
A patient suffering from dual diagnosis displays both the symptoms of a drug problem and a mental health issue. Medline Plus reports that the most common examples of dual diagnosis involve substance abuse combined with depression, anxiety, and schizophrenia. Unfortunately, each of these two problems can make the other worse. According to National Mental Health Association, mental health issues can increase a patient’s risk of substance abuse by up to 15%. Dual diagnosis cases are a challenge for medical professionals because one problem is likely to cover up the other. However, a holistic approach to addiction treatment can help identify and treat both problems simultaneously.
The self-medication theory is one of the most prevalent hypotheses about addiction. It states that those who abuse substances or participate in addictive behaviors often have an underlying medical or psychological problem. Patients and professionals alike use the self-medication theory as a tool for better communication and understanding during the treatment process. The theory encourages patients to be honest with medical professionals and themselves about their addictions and triggers. This self-examination can be an important motivator for patients to overcome their addictions. The self-medication theory has some overlap with dual diagnosis—especially when a patient’s substance abuse begins as self-treatment for his mental health issue.
Contact Ranch Creek Recovery if you suspect that your loved one is using drugs to cope with his or her mental health issue. Our holistic approach to addiction treatment can get to the heart of the problem and help your loved one live a better life. We can be reached by phone at (951) 795-4326.