Most addicts suffer from at least one of the following mental health disorders:
- Borderline personality disorder
- Process addictions (gambling, sex, hoarding, cutting, eating and etc.)
- Bipolar disorder
- Posttraumatic stress disorder
- Poor self-esteem
Many addicts unconsciously use drugs or alcohol to medicate the emotional pain caused by these problems. Unfortunately, the relief drugs offer is short-lived, because a user’s tolerance for a substance increases, which means she needs larger, more frequent doses to achieve the same effects. Before long, user are left with a mental health disorder that is then complicated by addiction.
Social stigmas attached to these disorders encourage addicts to hide or deny them, but many mental health experts now recognize that, to neutralize the stigmas of these problems, people must open;y discuss mental health disorders.
Talking About Mental Health
Many American families are more likely to discuss their family’s history of cancer, high blood pressure or heart disease than mental health issues, but this trend is most unfortunate, as mental health issues can be treated much more effectively if they are recognized early. While not all psychological issues can be traced to genetic patterns, many can, which means the children of a depressed person are significantly more likely to wrestle with depression than the children of non-depressed parents. Behavioral patterns also flow from the mental health issues of a parent to their offspring—in other words, someone with an impulse control disorder and poor anger management skills may be more likely to lash out at his wife and kids verbally or physically. Associated remorse and frustration can lead to substance abuse, so children growing up in that home may learn both violent and drug abuse behaviors whether they develop addictions or not.
Trained therapists can help families overcome these problems. Family counseling sessions provide the environment for people to share their struggles with emotional issues and to examine their family history of mental illness. Once someone learns that she comes from a line of people with a mental health problem, like bipolar disorder, then she can seek help with less fear of stigmatization.
Dual Diagnosis Treatment
The most effective addiction recovery programs offer Dual Diagnosis treatment for addiction and underlying disorders. This kind of care applies the following therapeutic tools:
- Comprehensive individual counseling
- Guided family discussions
- Support group meetings
- Education about the functioning and treatment of mental health issues
- 12-step programs
- Spiritual support
- Introduction to healthy coping techniques
- Establishing strong ongoing aftercare support
The earlier someone seeks treatment for addiction and a co-occurring disorder, the easier it will be to recover. Furthermore, discussing these issues with children and teens might help them avoid the traps that caught their parents or extended family members.
Help with Mental Health and Addiction
If you want help discussing mental health disorders with your family, please call our toll-free, 24 hour helpline now. Our admissions coordinators can connect you with family counselors and recovery programs, so do not let mental health disorders haunt your family. Call now for instant support.