It is quite common in the field of addiction recovery to meet people with a substance use disorder who are also affected by another mental illness. When that is the case, it what is called a co-occurring disorder, previously referred to as dual diagnosis. The most co-occurring disorders to accompany addiction, include:
- Bipolar Disorder
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Addiction experts believe that in order for addiction treatment to have the best chance of success, it is paramount that both the addiction and co-occurring disorder be treated simultaneously. Failure to treat one without the other can be recipe for disaster. People living with any form of mental illness will often turn to drugs and alcohol as a mechanism for coping with their symptoms. It is widely agreed upon that self-medicating one’s mental illness with mind altering chemicals only makes the condition worse.
In the United States, in particular, we have thousands of young service men and women coming home from conflict in the Middle East. Overburdened Veterans Affairs facilities across the country have had a hard time treating the thousands of PTSD cases. As a result, veterans turn to the resources they have available, this often comes in the form of drugs and alcohol. As was said earlier, illicit drug use and heavy drinking are not effective forms of coping with any form of mental illness. Dependence and/or addiction often ensues, feeling like one has few options or hope often times lead people with PTSD to make rash decisions that can result in loss of life—i.e. overdose and suicide.
In attempt to raise awareness about post traumatic stress disorder and the treatments available in this country, the the United States Senate has designated June 27th as National PTSD Awareness Day. The month of June is PTSD Awareness Month sponsored by the National Center for PTSD. Everyone can do their part to help millions of Americans get the help they so desperately need.
Please take a moment to share a PTSD guide on your social media sites.