Addiction is both a disease of it’s own and a symptom of others. The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous aptly states that “our liquor was but a symptom.” Increasingly, addiction, alcoholism, or general substance use disorder is being dually diagnosed. Dual-diagnosis refers to the two prong diagnosis of substance abuse and other mental health disorder. Depression, anxiety, and ADHD are three of the most common dual-diagnosis issues found in conjunction with substance use. Without the early intervention and treatment of mental health disorders, substance abuse can develop as a coping mechanism.
NPR reports that in the United States, one out of every five school children shows signs of mental illness (in a given school year). Problematically, upwards of 80% of children who demonstrate symptoms of mental illness and may have it will not be treated for it. Untreated mental illness in early stages of development tends to worsen through the hormonal changes of puberty. Entering teenagehood when adolescents are naturally beginning to experiment with drugs and alcohol, a young adult with preexisting mental illness will be prone to addiction.
Addiction is not the only problem that can be created by untreated mental illness in school age children. Unless there is an active parent supporting their specific needs in learning, a child will suffer academically. As a result, they will likely receive criticism, ridicule, and punishment from their learning institutions. Wishing to avoid the humiliation and frustration, they might start skipping classes, underperforming academically, and turning to drugs for escape.
A similar occurrence happens in much of the treatment industry. Though dual-diagnosis is becoming more common, many treatment centers are not equipped to work with such clients. Enlightened Solutions is a certified and licensed dual-diagnosis treatment facility. In uncertified facilities, they might view the symptomology of mental illness as a lack of willingness, lack of motivation, or problematic behavior. Just like acting up in school, patients in treatment will begin to rebel. Sadly, their frustrations will lead to discharge and potential relapse.
Recognizing and treating co-occurring mental illness disorders in addiction patients is critical at any age or stage of development.
If you are concerned you or a loved one may be suffering from a mental disorder that is causing complications such as substance abuse, call Enlightened Solutions today 833-801-5483.
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