It has been several decades since the fact was first established that many people with substance abuse issues are also suffering from mental health issues. Mental health issues and disorders are unfortunately one of the most common triggers of addiction seen in the United States. In fact, it has now been proven that people with mental health disorders often turn to drug or alcohol addiction. In reverse, people with drug or alcohol addiction can also end up developing an issue with their mental health, such as depression or panic attacks.
There are many reasons that people with depression may turn to drugs or alcohol rather than seek ongoing professional depression help, and the same is true for those suffering from other mood disorders. For many people, they are simply using drugs and alcohol to numb the pain of the fact that they have a mental health disorder in the first place. While we have made great strides in the acceptance of people that suffer from mental health issues, the person diagnosed often feels ashamed that they were diagnosed with the condition in the first place. They may feel that it is somehow it is their fault that they developed the condition or that it will somehow simply go away if they can just cope long enough.
Many of the symptoms that can come with mental health disorders can cause disruptions to someone’s everyday life, causing them to turn to drugs and/or alcohol. These disruptions are one of the most common triggers of addiction. For example, even something as common as depression can leave a person with very low energy. This person may turn to drugs that are known to give large bursts of energy, such as cocaine, Adderall or crystal meth, which is incredibly dangerous and frequently fatal.
The medical community first took notice of co-occurring disorders as early as the 1970s, when it was originally known as a dual diagnosis or a dual disorder. However, in recent years, it has become a proven fact and has been the subject of a multitude of studies. One of the main reasons for this push in research and studies has been the rising suicide rate of people who suffer from drug addiction and from mental health issues or disordered.
Outside the medical community, great strides have been made by the National Association of State Alcohol & Drug Abuse Directors (NASADAD). They have begun surveying members that also have some type of mental health issues on topics like which treatments have been effective.
Another event of note when it comes to co-occurring disorders is the passing of the Affordable Care Act in the United States in 2010. This broad expansion of government regulation over the healthcare and insurance industries resulted in the development of better ways to treat dual diagnosis. This is achieved mainly by making it mandatory for insurers to cover mental health and substance abuse problems. Despite recent attempts by Republican party lawmakers to repeal what is commonly referred to as Obamacare, the ACA remains the law of the land as of 2018.
In conclusion, when looking at a person who has a drug or alcohol addiction, it is important to consider the mental aspects that may factor into that addiction. This is why the mental health community and the medical community has begun working together closely to treat the entire person, rather than the symptoms.