The Importance of Treating Your Addiction and Your Underlying Mental Health Issues

Millions of Americans struggle with both a substance use disorder and a mental disorder, with one often influencing the other

Of the 21 million people in the United States who suffer from a substance use disorder,  8 million are also living with a mental illness. It’s called a dual diagnosis, and it’s important that treatment resolves both issues at the same time for the best results.

At LifeSync Malibu, our team, under the compassionate and experienced guidance of Dr. Geoffrey Booth, understands the many roads that can lead to problems with addiction and mental health. In many cases, it’s hard to discern which came first, but the connection is often there, and both should be treated simultaneously. 

Here’s a look at why it’s important to treat your addiction and your underlying mental health issues if you have a dual diagnosis.

Understanding dual diagnosis

A dual diagnosis isn’t a diagnosis in and of itself, but rather a term we use to describe patients who have both a substance use disorder and a mental illness at the same time.

Researchers have yet to uncover whether there’s a direct link between mental illness and addiction, but some compelling statistics point to a connection, including:

While these numbers certainly point to a connection, the link may be more of a two-way street. For example, people with mental illness are more likely to self-medicate with drugs or alcohol. 

Now consider that the use of drugs and alcohol can worsen the symptoms of a mental disorder or make you more susceptible to developing a mental health problem. As you can see, the connection appears to go in both directions, with one likely leading to the other in different orders.

Mental health issues and addiction

Until now, we’ve been saying that a dual diagnosis involves an addiction component and a mental health illness component. To give you a better idea of the types of mental health issues that are routinely connected to substance use disorders, here are some of the more common:

There are many other mental health issues that may be connected to substance use problems, but these represent the majority of cases.

Treating your dual diagnosis

Whichever problem developed first, the bottom line is that treating both at the same time garners the best results. Reports show that of the 3 million working adults who live with a dual diagnosis, only 40% were treated for either disorder, and less than 5% were treated for both. 

At our practice, we perform an in-depth diagnostic assessment to identify whether you’re facing any mental health challenges, and then design a treatment plan that’s tailored to your unique needs. As part of that plan, we perform genetic testing to figure out which medications are best for your body so that we can get you on the road to recovery and better mental health at the same time.

By addressing both of your problems at the same time, we give you the tools you need to improve your physical, mental, and emotional health, allowing you to break free from the vicious cycle of a dual diagnosis.

To learn more about dual diagnoses, please call our office in Malibu, California, at 866-497-5433 to set up a confidential appointment. You can also send a message to our team at LifeSync Malibu here on our website.


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