Substance abuse affects more people than you probably realise. In the last year, ONS (2021) reported 3.4% of adults aged 16 to 59 years old took Class A drugs in England and Wales; this equates to around 1.1 million people.

This was much higher in adults aged 16 to 24 years old at 7.4%, with men almost twice as likely as women to have taken any drug. It’s clear from these statistics that substance abuse is prevalent in the UK. As alcohol and drugs are more accessible than ever, alcohol and drug rehab like us are continuing to provide effective substance abuse treatments for those who need it most.

From our years of experience and expertise in drug addiction and mental health, it’s obvious that there’s a strong connection between the two. The toxins with drugs and alcohol can severely affect your physical and psychological health.

The impact that substance abuse has on your life is extremely dramatic, from damaging your relationships with family and friends to ruining your career prospects, substance abuse most noticeably affects your physical and mental health.

Excessive alcohol consumption and drug abuse put you at risk of developing liver disease, heart disease, diabetes, and stroke, as well as experiencing depression, anxiety, bipolarity, low self-esteem, and loneliness.

 

What is a Dual Diagnosis?

When someone is living with a dual diagnosis, this means they’re suffering from both an addiction to alcohol or drugs and mental health problems. This can happen when a person has been excessively abusing alcohol or drugs over a long period of time that it’s severely impacted their mental health causing them issues such as paranoia, phobias, anxiety, depression, etc.

A dual diagnosis can also happen when a person who’s suffering from poor mental health develops an addiction to alcohol or drugs as they felt it was a coping mechanism for their psychological pain; of course, this makes both conditions much worse, but it doesn’t mean they’re not treatable.

It’s difficult to define what the cause of a dual diagnosis could be, but there are some common factors that could influence a mental health problem or addiction. If you consistently abuse alcohol or drugs, your symptoms could mimic a mental health problem such as psychosis which is frequently linked with marijuana.

It’s also possible for a person’s genetic makeup to make it more likely that they’ll develop an addiction to drugs or alcohol or a mental health problem. Exposure to substance abuse at an early age could also make you more prone to substance abuse if it what’s you’ve perceived to be the norm.

 

Dual Diagnosis Symptoms and Treatment Options

A dual diagnosis is more common than most people realise, this is because of how strongly substance abuse is linked to mental health. If you’re unsure as to whether you or a loved one could be suffering from a dual diagnosis, there are some signs and symptoms to look out for.

These include difficulty managing daily tasks, issues managing finances, poor performance at work or school, sudden changes in general behaviour, neglecting health and hygiene, refusal to seek or comply with treatment, avoiding events or social activities that you once enjoyed, mentions of suicidal thoughts, and delusional thinking.

No matter how mild or severe your dual diagnosis may be, it’s crucial that seek out professional addiction and mental health treatment. Many people who are suffering from substance abuse or mental health problems, can often be in denial about their condition. It’s difficult for some people to admit how dependent they are on alcohol or drugs or how much their mental health problems impact their life.

Of course, the symptoms of mental health conditions can be quite scary so it can only feel natural to try to ignore these and hope they’ll go away on their own which isn’t the case. There’s also still a stigma attached to substance abuse and mental health issues which could lead people to think it’s a weakness, so they avoid opening up about it.

However, this isn’t a weakness, substance abuse and mental health issues can affect anyone. Admitting that you have a problem and asking for help is actually a very courageous thing to do and the first step you’ll take on your road to recovery.

 

Treatment Options for Mental Health and Substance Abuse

When you visit an alcohol or drug rehab, you can receive a personalised treatment programme to ensure your rehabilitation is as effective as it can be. The most successful way to treat substance abuse and mental health is to follow a well-balanced programme including physical, psychological and well-being therapies.

Usually, the first step is to go through an alcohol or drug detox to gradually reduce your consumption of alcohol or drugs in a safe and controlled environment. It’s important that you don’t attempt to detox at home without the support of detox specialists as this will put you at great risk of danger.

The risks with an alcohol or drug detox come from the possibility of withdrawal symptoms which are fairly common when you go through a detox. Whilst these can be quite uncomfortable, they can be safely and effectively managed under the supervision of a medical team to ensure the discomfort is eased and you complete your detox successfully.

Once you’ve successfully completed your alcohol or drug detox, you can begin your psychological therapies which will have been carefully selected to bring you the most benefits. These therapies could include counselling, motivational interviewing, stress management, relapse prevention, and psychotherapy.

Alongside these psychological therapies, you should also be offered a range of well-being therapies to ensure you receive a holistic approach to your treatment. These therapies which focus on your well-being include mindfulness, yoga, relaxation and sleep management, meditation, low-level laser therapy, art therapy, music therapy, nutritional supplement therapy, and fitness therapy.

 

Sources

https://www.ons.gov.uk/peoplepopulationandcommunity/crimeandjustice/articles/drugmisuseinenglandandwales/yearendingmarch2020

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