Substance Abuse and Mental Illness – Two Sides of the Same Coin

Substance use disorders and mental illnesses often go hand in hand. Thus, one cannot get his or her depression or anxiety treated until the addiction to drugs or alcohol has been addressed. In fact, both these disorders feed on each, wreaking havoc on an individual’s well-being.

However, due to lack of awareness, many people suffering from such dual condition are not getting the right kind of treatments. While 50 percent of general psychiatric patients also suffer from a substance use disorder, only 7.4 percent of individuals receive treatment for both the conditions, said a report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Precisely, around 37 percent of alcoholics and 53 percent of drug abusers face a high risk of developing a mental illness at any given point, said the report.

An urge to self-medicate mood disorders, such as depression, bipolar disorder or anxiety, is the driving force behind a person’s addiction to drugs or alcohol. Similarly, a persistent drug abuse or dependence can lead to symptoms of mental health issues. However, both these conditions also share certain common triggers, such as family history of dual diagnosis, stress levels, past traumatic experiences, degree of exposure to drugs etc.

Rapid increase in dual diagnosis cases in America

Studies have shown that in the United States, Hispanics are more susceptible to both alcohol and drug abuse than other ethnic groups. Besides, Hispanics also face higher odds of falling prey to depression and an additional substance use problem. Though, the causes of such disparities are highly debatable, the truth is no single ethnic group in America is immune to the dangers of dual diagnosis.

Research shows that men are significantly more vulnerable to suffer from dual diagnosis than women. Other sections of the society which face a strikingly high risk include individuals from lower social and economic groups, veterans from the armed forces and those with more general medical illnesses.

According to mental health experts, genes and other hereditary factors may put individuals at the risk of addiction and mental health-related problems, with a greater possibility of an overlap between such genetic factors. These overlapping factors indicate that some people are more likely to develop multiple disorders than others.

Importantly, if there is any impairment in an individual’s reward and stress functions, which are strongly linked to addiction, it could also render them vulnerable to coexisting conditions. It has been found that those suffering from schizophrenia and those who are addicted to drugs have impaired reward pathways with a high concentration of dopamine activity. People depend on drugs to gain euphoria, without realizing that their substance abuse can trigger latent mental illnesses, making them worse over time.

Dual diagnosis is treatable

Dual diagnosis can be treated with a specialized treatment provided to address both the mental disorder and the substance use disorder at the same time. Substance-induced mental health disorders can be prevented if one avoids addictive substances. Mental health issues may seem treatable in the beginning but can become severe with the passage of time. It is important to screen patients for potential cognitive impairment and provide integrated treatment that caters to both the disorders.

The Hindrances To Drug Abuse Treatment

It is a fact that a person who experiments with drugs becomes more deeply involved the longer he continues his use of the substances. Along the way, the user becomes aware of the harm drugs are causing him. When not under the influence of the drugs, the user regrets that he started using them and wishes he might stay away from them.

Some drug abusers come to this realization after their first few trials. For them, it may be relatively easy to quit. But the longer a person continues to use drugs, the more difficult it becomes for him to give them up.

Dealing with addiction through drug abuse treatment is quite a challenge, and there are a number of real hindrances to complete recovery. These include some unsolved personal problems, the fear of ridicule by friends who are also into drugs, and the fear of failure. Let’s examine how each of these factors can hinder recovery from drug addiction:

Unsolved personal problems:

This factor constitutes a great hindrance to recovery from drug addiction. After the user has experimented with the drugs and has indulged for a time, it becomes even more difficult for him to solve the very problems that prompted him to continue his use of the drugs in the first place.

The person’s continued use of the drugs has taken away his courage and weakened his stamina. Worse, it caused him to lose time in the personal development that would have enabled him to make improvement.

Fear of ridicule by drug-using friends:

In the likeliest of possibilities, a young person who is into drugs belongs to a group of drug users. There are instances when some of them also wish to quit, but are not successful in their attempt to do so. Understandably, they are not willing to see anyone in their group succeed where they have failed.

The drug users who wanted to quit but failed may even be afraid that the one who successfully gave up the habit will turn against them by becoming an informer. It is not difficult to understand that a drug pusher will make it as hard as possible for his “clients” to quit.

We have to remember that people in their teens need friends. If they discontinue the use of drugs, their friends, who are also drug users, will no longer allow them to take part in their social activities. By this time, the drug user has already established an unpleasant reputation, which makes it difficult for him to develop new friends. This is because a teenager who has not used drugs fears that his influence will be a disadvantage to those who do.

Fear of failure:

The habitual drug user is at a disadvantage when it comes to continuing his education or finding work. There is a very slim chance that he’ll get a scholarship or land a decent job. He is easily hurt emotionally by such failures that he yields easily to pressures to continue using drugs.

This, of course, is not to say that there’s no hope for a chronic drug user to recover from his addiction. There are therapies and professional help available to make him succeed in “kicking” the habit.

What Leads to Substance Abuse?

What makes someone decide to take the plunge into the world of chemicals? Is it desperation, anger, loneliness or plain and simple ignorance?

“But why did you do it in the first place?”, a question that pops into your mind every time you see your loved ones struggling with their addiction at a substance abuse treatment facility. It is perfectly alright to ask this question; after all, how would you be able to help end the addiction if you don’t know what started it? Mostly people take drugs because they want to change something about themselves or their lives, alcohol and drugs seem like a solution to them but eventually, the solution becomes the problem.

A lot of researchers have tried to figure out the reason behind the inception of this deadly habit and after talking to several people who have been through the ups and downs of substance abuse, an anti-drug organization Foundation for a Drug-Free World has come up with a list of probable reasons behind why one chooses to walk down the dark road.

• To fit in: “Everyone is doing it”, more often than we realize this kind of statement is the subtle hint of peer pressure. Many young people lack the social skill of making friends or fitting in a group and they would just about do anything to feel accepted and have a cool group of their own. Unfortunately if they come across a group which is already involved in drug/substance abuse, it is more likely that they would also give in rather than taking a stand all to fit in.

• To escape or relax: Everybody has got troubles of their own that they deal with on a daily basis, but sometimes it becomes too much for them. While some of us try to look for a break by going for a vacation or taking a few days off; others choose the high of alcohol, drugs or other substances to take their mind off the problem. It starts slowly maybe once a month but slowly and steadily the person starts getting dependent on the high. Every time he feels pressurized, he turns towards the high looking for an escape and before he realizes it, that temporary high becomes a permanent need.

• To relieve boredom: One of the major factors in drug abuse in teens and young adults is boredom. Most of the time when they have extra free time at hand or no hobbies and interests to keep us occupied, they start looking for exciting things to do and drinking/ smoking up or drugs seems like a good idea. They think that they have strong will power and may quit any time they want to but the sad reality is once you get hooked up you cannot ‘just stop’ without professional help; in fact trying to go ‘cold turkey’ may even prove to be fatal.

• To seem grown up: When teenagers and young adults see their friends or family getting involved with alcohol or drugs, even if it is something as casual as social drinking; they start to think they even they can handle it. It becomes easier for them to rationalize it by thinking stuff like ‘Everybody drinks during the Sunday family get-together so, why I can’t?’ even the modern music and entertainment seems to be filled with references to drugs making the youngsters believe that it’s Okay to try it

sometimes. This ‘sometimes’ pushes them slowly and steadily towards addiction.

• To rebel: Most parents warn their kids and ask them to stay away from drinking, smoking and other substance abuse but more often than not, these warnings have just the opposite effect. Kids start feeling pressurized and try to look for ways to lash out or rebel against their parents. Smoking or drinking starts seeming like excellent ideas to them and they underestimate that this may severely backfire on them and they might end up becoming addicted.

• To experiment: We have often heard that ‘drugs boost creativity’, this, is a lie. In fact alcohol/substance abuse causes just the opposite. It alters one’s thinking capacity and brain functions in such a way that they are unable to focus on anything other the need to get their high. As time passes, their tolerance increases and they start looking for new ways trying to get the euphoric feeling of being high. Most of the time this pulls a person deeper into the darkness of addiction. All this sucks a person dry of their logical thinking and also drains them of their creativity. Their experiment to get more creative backfires on them.

It is very easy for teenagers and young adults to get into the habit of alcohol/substance abuse without thinking about the long-term consequences. What we need to understand is that alcohol or drug dependency hampers one’s normal brain functions and they are unable to see and understand logic the way we do. Hence, it is imperative that we look out for the slightest signs and make sure that we always stay by their side whenever they need support. Fortunately, it is possible to get help at the right rehab and help your loved ones get their life back on track; all you need to do is be alert to the signs.

Quit Smoking – Stop Addiction – Free Report On How To Stop Smoking And Drug Abuse Relief – Naturally

For smoking and drug addictions:

Physical dependence on drugs is normally only 20% of your problem – the other 80% is psychologically of nature and you need to commit yourself to be successful in your effort.

For eating addictions:

The addiction to eat has similarities to that of drug addictions. You cannot pass a certain type of food without taking a bite! That eating make you feel good and that is why you keep on nibbling.

For stress relief:

Stress is a big problem for a large percentage of the globe’s population. Many of us are using chemicals to cope with stress.

To quit smoking, drug abuse or any addiction is the best thing you can do to improve your health and lifestyle with immediate benefits

ARE YOU READY?

Those who are ready to quit:

•Committed to stop smoking or drug abuse.

•Does not enjoy smoking/drugs anymore

•Feel the ill health effects caused by smoking/drug abuse

•Want to be free from nicotine/drug addiction

•Tried several times without success, but ready to try again

•Told by your doctor to stop and taking it seriously.

Those who are not ready to quit:

•Still enjoy smoking/drugs – Remember, once you start to feel the negative effects of the nicotine/drugs on your body it may already be too late

•Under 30 years of age – you still have a very active social life and think that smoking/drugs cannot harm you – just to have some regrets at a later stage in life

•Emotionally affected and under huge stress – learn to cope with the emotions and stress and then give up smoking/drugs – as ex-addicts we have sympathy with you and we support you all the way in your effort to quit.

HOW?

This method provides relief for all types of addictions. We use the smoke cessation program to demonstrate to you how to use this method of addiction relief. You apply the same principles for other forms of addiction relief.

To successfully quit smoking you need to understand how smoke addiction came to take charge of your body and mind. To quit you must address both the physical as well as the psychological issues of smoke cessation.

The physical issue has to do with the body chemistry that has been affected by the nicotine or addictive substance. The psychological issue has to do with the mind – that is what you think and what the mind tries to make you believe about your addiction.

How does nicotine affect the body chemistry? Way back, for some of us many decades ago when we started smoking, by inhaling the smoke the nicotine in cigarettes gets in our blood and interfere with the working of the

Hypothalamus gland. This gland is also known as the “addiction” gland. All addictions have something in common with this gland.

When you light up a cigarette and inhale the smoke, within seconds together with the oxygen the nicotine is transferred into your blood. Through circulation the nicotine reaches the hypothalamus gland and stimulates it – this stimulation causes the release of endorphins, which are also referred to as “happy hormones”. For the duration of you smoking the cigarette, these happy hormones will be released and you will endure a feeling of well being, pleasure and crisp thinking.

The moment you put out the cigarette, the nicotine count in the blood diminishes, and the release of the “happy hormones” stops. Soon thereafter the hormone count also diminishes to such a level that the body starts to feel

“not so good”, and you start to crave for another cigarette. Very quickly the mind realises that if the body feels not good, you light up a cigarette, and the “happy hormones” will make the body feel good again. That is exactly where the addiction kicks in – if you do not feel well, just light up a cigarette and you will feel better.

So between the mind and the body, the addiction comes from the fact that the mind keeps on instructing the body to pump nicotine into the blood so you can feel better. A very nasty and extremely dangerous situation. The craving for nicotine is so strong that you do not feel the deterioration of your health due to the thousands of chemicals that you are “injecting” yourself with. These chemicals cause all sorts of illnesses like asthma, diabetes, coughing, allergies, cancer, poor eating habits, emphysema, ulcers, tooth decay, skin problems, premature ageing and many more the list is too long.

And to think, all the way the addiction for nicotine is so strong that you do not (or rather want not to) realise that it is the smoking that causes all these illnesses almost without exception. Once you light up, there are over 4000 chemicals released, most of which you inhale with very dangerous consequences.

The power of the mind is controlling the body? To illustrate this let us look at some examples.

•When you get on an airplane to Europe or some other far off destination, you know that there is no smoking on the aircraft and you do not have a problem with that? True? Yes, it is the mind that tells the body that it is not going to get nicotine and the body is quite happy with that ruling.

•Some religions require you not to smoke during fasting times, and yes, you cope with that easily.

•When you are hospitalised (heart attack or operation, cancer treatment, lung problems) for some or other reason, you do not smoke sometimes for several days – and you cope with that.

•When a woman falls pregnant she stops smoking immediately for 9 months – yes I had numerous female clients that told me about their smoke cessation during pregnancy.

To successfully stop smoking, you must address both the physical craving for nicotine as well as the psychological aspects of smoke cessation. With our method of smoke cessation, you will apply the therapy yourself which will reduce the craving for nicotine to such an extent that you can much easier overcome the psychological “addiction”.

THE STIMULATION

You use the stimulator on the 29 points as indicated in the instruction manual. The points are often referred to as energy points, meridians as well as acupuncture points. The stimulator is safe to use, does not pierce the skin at all and does not need you to take any prescription drugs or chemical preparations. By stimulating the said points with our specially designed instrument you will find that the body does not crave the nicotine any more. The cigarettes will taste bad and you will feel good without the need of smoking. This positive feeling without the use of nicotine will now assist you in your psychological warfare against smoking habit.

Example of points to stimulate

Point 1 – in the middle of the triangle of soft flesh between the thumb and fore finger

Points 2 and 3 – on the meridian lines at the joint between the hand and the arm

You repeat the stimulation of the 29 points within 24 hours or as soon as the urge for smoking becomes unbearable. The body takes up to 72 hours to rid itself of nicotine. During this time you can repeat the stimulation every 12 hours if necessary. Thereafter you can repeat the stimulation as and when needed. Make sure that you carry the instrument with you when going on long trips.