“Self-medication” is a phrase that becomes more common every day. This refers to individuals using various substances, including alcohol, to treat their mental illnesses and other ailments. This can be a very dangerous practice; no doctor is directing you to use a substance, as they would be if you were using a prescription or other professional medical advice. Still, many people would rather self-medicate with alcohol than seek professional medical treatment. This can result in a quick slide down a pipeline to alcohol addiction. More people are seeking alcohol rehab in Laguna Beach than ever before, and often, this addiction treatment necessitates treating their mental health.
Yes, people self-medicate with alcohol, but excessive use can exacerbate existing mental illnesses and lead to new psychological symptoms. Someone may experience new symptoms of depression after becoming dependent on alcohol. Depression may also be a contributing factor driving someone to drink more heavily and often. By searching for a treatment facility that offers depression treatment and alcohol addiction treatment, you can give yourself a better chance of recovery and sobriety.
How Alcohol and Mental Health Interact
An alcohol addiction doesn’t guarantee that someone will develop a co-occurring mental disorder, but the chances become higher. Alcohol and mental health can feed off each other, and your mental well-being can be further damaged by heavy alcohol abuse. Many different mental health conditions can be linked to alcohol use in individual patients. These include, but aren’t limited to:
- Bipolar Disorder
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder
- Borderline Personality Disorder
Mental illness and addiction both carry powerful stigmas, and it can be discouraging to fight two battles all on your own. This is why it’s important to look for a provider that offers dual diagnosis treatment. This treatment plan will care for and treat your addiction and a co-occurring mental health issue.
Dual diagnosis treatment can be incredibly beneficial for many people working toward sobriety. Substance abuse treatment isn’t one-size-fits-all, and individualized treatment can be invaluable. If you have a co-occurring mental illness, treating both will give you a better shot at recovery and help you contextualize your thoughts and behaviors.
Depression and Substance Abuse
Many people with depression feel lost in their symptoms, which can influence people to turn to substance abuse. Depression is a disease that can make you feel alone and lost, and sometimes it’s difficult to see a way out that doesn’t involve substance abuse. Clinical depression can last for months or years, and it can make people feel as though there’s no end in sight.
This doesn’t mean that substance abuse or overindulging in alcohol is a healthy way to manage the symptoms of depression. While alcohol and other substances can temporarily alleviate your symptoms, it’s not a real fix, and these substances carry a risk of dependency or addiction with them. The more you indulge in addictive substances, including alcohol, the more you depend on them to manage your symptoms. This doesn’t solve your problem; in fact, it creates a new problem to manage alongside the original one.
Seeking Help for Addiction and Mental Illness
The best way to manage depression and other mental illnesses is to seek professional help. The same is true for substance abuse disorder. A professionally developed treatment program will help you manage your symptoms and form habits that will help rather than hinder. If you’re struggling with addiction and a mental illness, dual diagnosis treatment is a great option. Mental illness can make you feel alone, but you don’t have to be. Find a good treatment facility with a program that works for you.