Mental Health Awareness Week: October 4-10, 2020

Just as substance abuse disorder affects millions of Americans and their families, so does mental illness, and the two are connected.  Mental Health Awareness Week will help educate, support, so those with co-occurring or dual diagnoses such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder and addiction will seek treatment.

Many affected by both mental illness and substance abuse disorders do not seek evidence-based treatment because of the stigma attached, but recovery is possible.  Mental Health Awareness Week will help further the campaign of ending the stigma. National Depression Screening Day is October 8th and World Mental Health Day is October 10th.

Here are some criteria for substance abuse and mental health from Help Guide:

  • Do you have alcohol or drugs to cope with unpleasant memories or feelings to control pain or the intensity of your moods, to face situations that frighten you or stay focused on tasks?
  • Have you noticed a relationship between your substance use and your mental health?
  • Has someone in your family grappled with either a mental disorder or alcohol or drug abuse?
  • Do you feel depressed, anxious or otherwise out of balance even when you’re sober?
  • Have you previously been treated for either your addiction or your mental health problem?
  • Did the substance abuse treatment fail because of complications from your mental health issue or visa-versa?

Untreated symptoms of a mental health disorder can cause a patient to be unable to remain clear and sober and conversely, untreated substance abuse disorders can make mental health treatment ineffective.  Both need to be treated at the same time.

Here are some options for treating a dual diagnosis:

  • Individual counseling sessions.  Intensive therapy with a psychiatrist, psychologist or counselor who will address both a psychiatric diagnosis and your addictive disorder.
  • Mutual support groups such as AA, NA, and Smart Recovery.
  • Pharmacotherapy.
  • Couples counseling and family therapy such as CRAFT (Community Reinforcement And Family Therapy.
  • Assisted Services

For more information, consult Duel Diagnosis.

Wesley Cullen Davidson

Wesley Cullen Davidson

Wesley Cullen Davidson is an award-winning freelance writer and journalist specializing in parenting. Currently, she is targeting her writing about recovery to parents whose children have substance abuse disorders.