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Understanding the Connection Between Mental Health and Addiction

a young man convinces his partner to get help for mental health and addiction

Mental health and substance abuse have a complicated and intertwined relationship—people who are living with serious mental health concerns experience substance use disorders at a higher rate than others. Treatment of addiction and mental health go hand in hand – in order to recover from one, the other must also receive appropriate care. What is the connection between mental health and addiction? What is a co-occurring disorder? Can LGBTQ+ co-occurring disorders treatment work for me? One of the most important things you can do if you or a loved one are living with substance use disorder or mental health conditions is to expand your knowledge on these topics. Call Pride Institute at 888.408.1625 or reach out online for more information today.

What Is a Co-Occurring Disorder?

The term ‘co-occurring disorder’ is often used in the field of substance use disorder treatment to refer to a situation in which a client is experiencing both substance use disorder and one or more mental health conditions. In recent years, the understanding of how mental health and substance use disorders can intertwine has brought the idea of co-occurring disorders to the forefront. Many clients who seek treatment for one issue find that they may also need help for the other, and care professionals have adapted treatment methods to make sure that clients’ needs are addressed.

Why Are Mental Health Conditions and Substance Use Issues Connected So Strongly?

It is difficult to establish causality, which means being able to prove that one thing has directly caused another when it comes to substance use and mental health. However, there are three main areas that could illustrate ways in which these conditions tend to impact each other:

  • Mental health conditions and substance use disorders may share some common risk factors. This means that people who happen to have these risk factors may be more likely to experience either or both of these conditions.
  • Symptoms of mental health conditions may contribute to substance misuse, especially if the person is not receiving the right type of mental health care.
  • Substance misuse can, over time, put individuals at greater risk of developing mental health conditions. This occurs because many substances of misuse can affect the nerves and brain.

When treating addiction, it is crucial to treat the underlying cause. In many cases, mental health concerns exacerbate substance use.

LGBTQ+-Specific Treatment: What Is It and How Is It Different?

These days, many more places than ever are open, welcoming, and accepting of people of all identities and orientations. However, members of the LGBTQ+ community may have unique experiences and circumstances. For this reason, LGBTQ+ folks who choose to seek treatment for co-occurring disorders may benefit from programs that have been specifically developed with their needs in mind. Clients who participate in LGBTQ+-specific treatment may feel more relaxed and able to fully focus on their recovery in programs where they are accepted and embraced as their authentic selves. Most of the time, LGBTQ+-specific treatment uses similar methods as general treatment programs, but with some key differences:

  • Peers in an LGBTQ+-specific treatment program may be more easily able to relate to and understand one another’s experiences.
  • Staff members will be specially trained to be sensitive to the unique cultural needs and circumstances of the LGBTQ+ community.
  • Therapeutic processes will be more inclusive of families and partners.

LGBTQ+-centered care is an invaluable resource to this community.

Pride Institute: Serving the Recovery Care Needs of the LGBTQ+ Community Since 1986

At our treatment center, our clients enjoy access to programs that have been specially designed with the needs of our LGBTQ+ community in mind. We are committed to helping our clients achieve recovery and live their best lives. If you or someone you love has been struggling with substance misuse, reach out to us today at 888.408.1625 or via our online form.