The condition of suffering from a mental health illness and a comorbid alcohol or drug abuse problem is called dual diagnosis or a co-occurring disorder. Discerning between an alcohol-induced mental illness and a mental condition that existed before an alcohol use disorder is not an easy task. Clinicians emphasize the importance of treating co-occurring disorders simultaneously as they usually create a vicious cycle. Treatment requires an integrated approach that helps a person to become and stay sober and address their psychological problems.
The Relationship between Alcohol Abuse and Mental Health
Co-occurring conditions have their own specific symptoms that may affect an individual’s ability to maintain a stable family life, perform at work or school, handle life’s difficulties, and empathize with others.
What is even worse, these health conditions also affect each other. When a mental health problem remains untreated, the alcohol abuse problem continues to worsen. And vice versa, the increase in alcohol consumption usually exacerbates the symptoms of a mental health issue. That’s why it’s important to find a rehab for men: men-only addiction treatment centers that offer medical help for patients with a dual diagnosis.
Don’t hesitate to seek help. You are not alone with this problem. 9.2 million American adults experienced a co-occurring mental illness and a substance use disorder in 2018. A report published in the Journal of the American Medical Association reveals that about 50% of individuals with severe mental health illness use some substance. And 37% of alcohol abusers suffer from at least one serious mental disorder.
What Happens To The Brain And Body From Alcoholism?
Alcohol abuse and addiction have many adverse effects on the body. Here are some of them:
- Alcohol interferes with the absorption of vitamin B1, which is an important brain nutrient.
- It changes metabolism, functions of the heart, and blood flow.
- It is linked to poor nutrition.
- Alcohol affects several parts of the brain; it contracts brain tissues, destroys brain cells, and depresses the central nervous system.
- Binge drinking may lead to such alcohol-related brain diseases as cerebellar atrophy, hepatic encephalopathy, peripheral neuropathy, Wernicke’s encephalopathy, frontal lobe dysfunction, and Korsakoff’s amnesic syndrome.
- Alcohol intoxication is a common reason of car accidents, fights, and falls that can lead to traumatic brain injuries.
What Kinds Of Mental Illnesses Can An Alcohol Addiction Cause?
People who abuse alcohol undergo changes in their behavior. They include:
- An inability to set and stick to limits on how much and how often alcohol is consumed;
- An inability to cut back on alcohol intake or quit drinking;
- The occurrence of alcohol cravings between the episodes of drinking.
An addicted person who stops drinking or falls below a certain point starts experiencing the symptoms of withdrawal which can be really severe. Rapid and unexplainable mood swings are the major psychological indicator of the withdrawal syndrome. The person can feel depressed, anxious, nervous, or restless. They can lose mental clarity.
People who suffer from alcohol use disorder are at high risk of developing co-occurring mental disorders, such as:
- Major depression and other depressive disorders;
- Bipolar disorder (known as manic depression) and other bipolar disorders;
- Anxiety disorders (social anxiety disorder, specific phobia, etc.);
- Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
According to The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism’s (NIAAA) report, the risk of having depressive or bipolar disorder is roughly 3.6 to 4.1 times greater among alcohol-dependent people compared with the general population. Alcoholics experience anxiety disorders about 2.6 times more often than others and develop PTSD about 2.2 times more often.
Denial often gets in the way of seeking treatment for male addiction. It can be hard to admit that you can’t control alcohol consumption.
People often deny having mental health issues. The symptoms can frighten them, so they may ignore them and hope they disappear. Shame and fear are major barriers to admitting the problem. But these two health disorders can happen to anyone. And it takes more strength to admit an illness and seek a men-only rehab that to cover it up.
Treatment for Alcohol Abuse and Mental Illness
Mental illnesses may depend on the symptoms prior to alcohol consumption and/or develop because of it. To understand the diagnosis, medical professionals collect and analyze the following information: the patient’s gender, family history, and length of illness.
Since alcohol addiction can cause and exacerbate personality disorders, and mental issues often lead to relapses, both conditions must be treated concurrently. Men-only rehab programs for patients with dual diagnosis integrate treatment approaches for addiction and mental illness and include:
- use of peer-led support groups
- a “coaching” therapy style
- medication regimens tailored to each patient’s specific syndromes.
Men’s rehabilitation employs special psychotherapeutic methods useful for dually diagnosed patients:
- relapse-prevention therapy
- Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy
- motivational interviewing
- social skills training groups.
Health should always be a priority. Don’t procrastinate with treatment. The sooner you get it, the better.