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Alcohol Abuse and Mental Illness: What Every Alcoholic Should Know

There are obvious reasons that you should seek treatment for alcoholism. These include health problems, damaged relationships, and legal troubles. However, there is another factor that many people don’t consider. That is mental illness and how alcohol abuse may affect it. There are several things that every alcoholic should know about the relationship between these two disorders.

How Alcohol Abuse and Mental Illness Relate

Alcohol Abuse and Mental Illness

Many people suffering from mental illness use alcohol to self-medicate.

Mental health and addiction specialists around the world recognize that many people with a mental illness also have a substance abuse problem, and vice-versa. According to Dartmouth College, alcohol is the most common substance of abuse associated with mental illness and there are numerous aspects of both that overlap. These include:

  • Genetic factors that contribute to both
  • Environmental triggers that affect both
  • Negative stigmas related to sufferers of both
  • The fact that alcoholism is also a mental illness
  • Similar treatment approaches for both

These overlapping factors show how closely alcohol abuse and mental illness are related. This close relationship creates a situation that requires specialized and professional treatment.

Why Treatment is Necessary for Co-Occurring Disorders

More than half of all people diagnosed with mental illness also have a substance use disorder, because they have so many overlapping contributors. But, why does this mean that people with co-occurring disorders need treatment? The answer to that is the way that addiction and mental illness cycle, making both progressively worse.

For example, someone may drink to forget about their depression. Alcohol is a depressant, so when they drink they become even more depressed. This leads them to drink more. This cycle shows the very real need for professional intervention. To find treatment for co-occurring disorders, call 800-481-6965 (Who Answers?) today.

Drinking and Mental Health: Does it Help or Hurt?

Mental Illnesses Commonly Associated With Alcohol Abuse

Another factor that contributes to the necessity of treatment is the nature of the specific mental illnesses most commonly associated with alcohol abuse. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism,  these disorders typically include:

  • Major depressive disorder
  • Anti-social personality disorder
  • Persistent panic disorder
  • Bi-polar disorder
  • Various anxiety disorders
  • Schizophrenia

These mental illnesses are some of the most frequently occurring and have the potential to be dangerous to the sufferer, or those around them. Particularly when affected by alcohol abuse and despite the fact that many using alcohol, use it in order to self-medicate.

Where to Find Treatment for Alcohol Abuse and Mental Illness

While it is true that co-occurring alcohol abuse and mental illness can be difficult to diagnose and treat, it is not impossible. As is true with mental illnesses and substance abuse alone, seeking treatment as soon as possible is often key to a positive outcome.

Fortunately, people suffering from alcoholism and a mental illness are so common that there are numerous treatment facilities available to them. Finding the one that best meets your needs can be a difficult process, but we are here to help. Call us at 800-481-6965 (Who Answers?) and allow our helpful staff assist you in finding the treatment that gives you the best chance of getting both your alcohol use and mental illness under control.

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