Most people who struggle with a substance use disorder also have a co-occurring mental health issue, or a dual diagnosis. According to the 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, about 3.3 percent of all American adults had a dual diagnosis of addiction and another mental health issue. [https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/NSDUH-FRR1-2014/NSDUH-FRR1-2014.pdf] Some mental health issues can multiply your risk of developing a substance use disorder by several times. 

A preexisting mental health issue can increase your risk of addiction, addiction can increase your risk of developing a mental health issue, or both may be caused by some other factor, such as abuse, neglect, or trauma. Many people struggling with addiction aren’t even aware they have an untreated mental health issue. Unfortunately, unless the mental health issue is treated concurrently with addiction, it’s very hard to overcome a substance use disorder. That’s why it’s crucial to find a treatment program that has the staff and expertise to integrate addiction treatment and mental health treatment. The following are some of the most common mental health issues that require treatment along with addiction.

Anxiety disorders

According to the National Institute on Mental Health, nearly 20 percent of Americans will experience an anxiety disorder in any given year and more than 30 percent of Americans will experience an anxiety disorder at some point in their lives. [https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/any-anxiety-disorder.shtml] One reason anxiety disorders are so common is that it’s an umbrella term that includes many conditions such as generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, OCD, PTSD, phobias, and others. 

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, about 20 percent of people with an anxiety disorder or mood disorder also have a substance use disorder. [https://adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/related-illnesses/substance-abuse] In other words, having an anxiety or mood disorder more than doubles your risk of addiction. Many people with anxiety disorders use drugs or alcohol to relieve their anxiety. For example, one common pattern is for people with social anxiety disorder to drink to relieve their social anxiety and eventually become dependent on alcohol. And benzodiazepines, a common anxiety medication, are extremely addictive and can lead to dependence in as little as two weeks of daily use.

PTSD

Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, is technically an anxiety disorder but it increases your risk of addiction by so much that it deserves special attention. About seven or eight percent of people will develop PTSD at some point in their lives. [https://www.ptsd.va.gov/understand/common/common_adults.asp] About half of people seeking help for a substance use disorder meet the criteria for PTSD. [https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3466083/] That’s about five times the national average for substance use disorders. PTSD has a number of symptoms, including intrusive thoughts, anxiety, and insomnia that people try to treat with drugs or alcohol, especially alcohol. 

Depression

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, more than seven percent of American adults, or more than 17 million people, experienced an episode of major depression in 2017 and that number has risen in recent years. [https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/major-depression.shtml] According to the World Health Organization, depression is the number one cause of disability worldwide. [https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/depression] As with anxiety, depression can lead to a substance use disorder or vice versa. Among people with lifetime major depression, 16.5 percent have had an alcohol use disorder and 18 percent have had a drug use disorder, both of those rates are significantly higher than average. [https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2851027/

Women suffer from depression at about twice the rate as men but men are more likely to self-medicate with drugs and alcohol, less likely to seek help for depression, and more likely to die by suicide, making a dual diagnosis of depression and addiction especially dangerous for men. Since depression is so common in general and a common result of addiction, treating depression along with addiction is frequently necessary.

ADHD

Attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, is another condition that is highly correlated with addiction. One survey found that about 15 percent of people with ADHD also had a substance use disorder, about twice the national average. [https://www.additudemag.com/the-truth-about-adhd-and-addiction/] People with uncontrolled ADHD often have racing or intrusive thoughts, poor mood, or insomnia and about 70 percent of people with ADHD and substance use issues say they try to reduce these symptoms with the aid of drugs or alcohol. Many adults with ADHD aren’t even aware they have it, since the hyperactive aspect tends to diminish with age. However, the other symptoms can persist, so treating addiction requires getting ADHD symptoms under control.

Bipolar disorder

Bipolar disorder is typically classified as a major depressive disorder but there’s such a high correlation between bipolar and substance use disorders that it deserves special mention. Of people with bipolar disorder, about 56 percent developed a substance use disorder at some point. [https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2851027/] And bipolar isn’t as rare as most people believe. About 2.6 percent of Americans will develop bipolar disorder and about 83 percent of those cases are severe. [https://www.nami.org/learn-more/mental-health-conditions/bipolar-disorder] What’s more, bipolar is one of the most commonly misdiagnosed conditions, often mistaken for depression, and it presents special challenges for addiction treatment, especially during manic episodes. 

 

Burning Tree Ranch specializes in treating chronic relapse in people with chemical dependency. We provide long-term support through residential and extended care programs that help our clients break their old patterns of addiction and learn new skills to support a healthier life. Our Dallas residential treatment program is focused on providing premium substance use treatment at an affordable cost. Contact us today for more information.

holistic approach

We all have a unique story to tell. We’ve all been through different circumstances – different chains of events that have led us to where we’re at today. Substance abuse is only the tip of the iceberg, because underneath lies a lot of thoughts and feelings that make up who we are. Holistic practices take this into account by acknowledging the fact that we can’t treat everyone in addiction recovery the same way; there’s no “one-size-fits-all” treatment.

What Does Holistic Mean?

The American Holistic Health Association (AHHA) explains that holistic practices,

“…Encourage the patient to include healing strategies that support the whole person.”

Let’s take a look at the three main areas of holistic health:

Mind – this includes acknowledging everything that’s affected our mental health; examples of this may include recovery from trauma, mental illness, eating foods that support brain health, etc.

Body – the mind and body work together, and by feeding your body nutritious food, along with exercising to keep your body fit and flexible, you’ll find that benefits spill over into other areas of your life as well

Spirit – spirituality is separate from religion, but it emphasizes our purpose in life. If we feel needed – if we have a direction for where we want to go, and if we become stronger in our sense of spirituality, we’ll become stronger in recovery, too

In 2016, Elite Daily noted that holistic health is about observing everything as a whole – and there are several holistic practices that you can pick up during your time in treatment (and throughout the rest of your journey to recovery, too)

Types of Holistic Practices

Lucy R. Waletzky, MD, and Marsha J. Handel, MLS, highlighted several holistic practices via AHAA:

  •    Acupuncture – opening energy pathways throughout the body to release tension, stress and negativity
  •    Biofeedback – using instruments to provide feedback to clients on bodily processes so they can develop greater awareness and tools for reducing stress and anxiety as well as help for relapse prevention
  •    Neurofeedback – individuals learn to alter their brainwave patterns through specific technological processes
  •    Exercise – moving the body to boost mood, increase vitality, promote a deepened sense of awareness, gain strength, and more
  •    Meditation – connecting with the present moment to build awareness and reduce overactivity in the brain that stems from depression, anxiety, stress and more
  •    Nutrition – feeding the body healthy vitamins and minerals to help promote neuronal activity in the brain and increase overall functioning
  •    Yoga – powerful positions that promote flexibility, balance, awareness, concentration, calmness, etc.

A 2017 study published in the journal Nursing Outlook explored the benefits of holistic practice for those in recovery from opioid use disorder (OUD); researchers expressed that not only can holistic practices help treat direct issues in recovery (as well as help clients learn more about themselves), but they can also serve as preventative measures for the future, too.  Last year, an individual shared their story of recovery through Thrive Global, a website that publishes stories and information on topics related to well-being. They stated,

“Before I learned to meditate, my mind was out of control…meditation provided me with enough space to catch a thought pattern before it dragged me around for hours or days on end. I was able to access a part of me where peace and tranquility existed.”

Holistic practices like meditation can help those in recovery find new ways of relating to their thoughts; in addition to this, clients may find that it becomes easier to make decisions, that stress and anxiety aren’t as intense and that relaxation is easier to achieve once balance is found.

Efficacy of Holistic Practices in Addiction Recovery

There have been numerous studies conducted which only further promote the effectiveness of holistic practices in addiction recovery, even when combined with traditional practices such as medication management and therapy. For example, a 2017 study published in the Asian Journal of Applied Science and Technology found that after assessing 120 people in recovery, those who pursued yoga and an overall active lifestyle witnessed positive changes in other areas of their life.

Furthermore, a 2015 study published in the Open Journal of Psychiatry found that after comparing results of cravings between 10 males who struggled with methamphetamine addiction to 10 males who didn’t, neurofeedback therapy provided positive results. Those with addiction experienced less cravings after receiving several sessions in neurofeedback therapy – and it’s safe to say that the integration of these holistic practices only serves to broaden the possibilities of success for those who want to reach their recovery goals.

Seek Help Today

If you’re ready to find treatment that is personalized to your needs, speak with a professional from Burning Tree today. It’s never too late to begin your journey towards healing and restoration – and with so many diverse practices available to you, you’ll have all the support you need.

 

Burning Tree Ranch specializes in treating chronic relapse in people with chemical dependency. We provide long-term support through residential and extended care programs that help our clients break their old patterns of addiction and learn new skills to support a healthier life. Our Dallas residential treatment program is focused on providing premium substance use treatment at an affordable cost. Contact us today for more information.