According to the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), there is a clear connection between mental health and addiction. The non-partisan economic research organization found that those who have mental illness consume about 38% of all alcohol consumed and 44% of all cocaine consumed. Those numbers grow exponentially when you consider the consumption of addictive substances for anyone who has ever experienced mental illness. We’re facing uncertain times with social distancing and mitigation to reduce the damaging effects of Coronavirus. Mental health issues are on the rise. That’s why dual diagnosis San Diego facilities like Ocean Hills Recovery are focusing on your mental health and addiction issues to help you achieve long-term sobriety.
Mental Health And Addiction: The Commonality of Dual Diagnosis San Diego
Though it’s clear there is a connection between mental health and addiction, it’s important to note that the comorbidity doesn’t mean that one causes the other. In fact, according to the National Institute On Drug Abuse, it’s hard to say that mental illness causes drug/substance addiction or substance addiction to cause mental illness. There are several factors involved in both.
Often, emotional or behavioral issues may not be apparent enough to garner a mental illness diagnosis. They may be underdiagnosed when it comes to making a connection between dual diagnosis. Sometimes people may not necessarily recall when they first started misusing substances. They may not even be necessarily aware of any underlying mental issues at that time.
Additionally, the risk factors that contribute to mental illness often overlap those that are contributors to substance misuse and addiction. Finding the line where one dominates the other is difficult. It’s logical that mental illness may lead to irrational thinking and behavior, which in turn often leads to substance misuse and abuse to numb the pain. But, on the same token, the misuse and addiction to brain-altering substances may also put you at risk of developing mental illness.
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Self Medicating and Mental Health
One of the biggest problems that come with mental health and addiction is the tendency to self-medicate. It makes sense; if you’re depressed or you suffer from anxiety or unstable moods, you naturally want to feel better. You may look to alcohol or marijuana or even prescription medicines like Valium or Xanax to help you feel ‘more like yourself.’ The problem is that those substances have addictive qualities.
You may find yourself using them more and more or not using prescriptions as the dosages recommend to get that same feeling of peace. This means that you not only find yourself more mentally unhealthy than before but also addicted to the very things you were using to battle your mental demons.
This is definitely an issue in San Diego. A 2013-2014 Behavioral Health Services report found that the rate of dual diagnosis in San Diego County exceeded the rate of dual diagnosis of the entire state of California. Additionally, both San Diego County and California had higher dual diagnosis rates than the nation’s SAMHSA rates.
The rate of dual diagnosis in adult clients in San Diego County exceeded the rate of dual diagnosis in the rest of California. Additionally, both San Diego County and California rates were higher than the national SAMHSA rates.
The Coronavirus And Substance Abuse Connection
The impact of SARS-CoV-2 (the virus strain that causes COVID-19) is long-stretching. The efforts we’ve taken as a global community impact us right down to our own little neighborhoods. Social distancing and mask-wearing have all but eliminated human touch and contact outside of our small familial circles. For the first time since the Great Depression, Americans find ourselves looking at unemployment rates of 15% or higher.
Karestan Koenen is a professor of psychiatric epidemiology at the Harvard T.H.Chan School of Public Health. She’s worried about the rising rates of mental illnesses that are often most closely linked to such personal catastrophe as a job loss – depression and anxiety. Koenen believes that foreclosure and job loss are associated with increased rates of anxiety and depression.
The CDC also warns that during this time of great stress, you may increase your use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs. This seems to be the case already as alcohol sales have surged by 55% since many states enforced stay-at-home orders.
Even celebrities look as though they’re turning to addictive substances to help them get through this time of quarantine and social isolation. From Stephen Curry to Seth Rogen, celebrities are telling us that even they are smoking ‘truly ungodly’ amounts of marijuana and indulging in extra alcoholic drinks. California’s eased restrictions on marijuana and alcohol-related businesses only make it easier to misuse those substances.
It’s a dangerous time for those who already battle substance abuse and addiction.
Ocean Hills Recovery: A Dual Diagnosis San Diego Rehabilitation Center That Cares
We know that mental health and addiction during the Coronavirus are intricately complicated. At Ocean Hills Recovery, we recognize the additional stresses life has these days. We know that these triggers can make your addiction issues even more difficult for you to deal with. The good news is that you don’t have to deal with them alone.
At Ocean Hills Recovery, we provide Collaborative Recovery for you to have the highest possibility of success in recovery. With our caring and compassionate therapists and physicians, we look at the whole you. We provide a customized treatment plan that will address your mental and physical needs. This time of uncertainty doesn’t have to be one in which your addiction gets the best of you. Contact us today to get more information about how we can help you heal and brave this new normal of life.
Sources: https://www.nber.org/digest/apr02/w8699.html  https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/common-comorbidities-substance-use-disorders/why-there-comorbidity-between-substance-use-disorders-mental-illnesses https://www.sandiegocounty.gov/content/dam/sdc/hhsa/programs/bhs/TRL/BHS%20Outcomes%20Report_FINAL_102115.pdf  https://www.marketwatch.com/story/millions-of-lost-jobs-may-push-unemployment-rate-to-highest-since-great-depression-2020-05-02  https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2020/04/rising-mental-health-concerns-in-the-coronavirus-era/  https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/daily-life-coping/managing-stress-anxiety.html  https://news.usc.edu/168549/covid-19-alcohol-sales-abuse-stress-relapse-usc-experts/  https://www.foxnews.com/entertainment/seth-rogen-smoking-weed-coronavirus-quarantine  https://www.usmagazine.com/food/pictures/stars-making-quarantine-drinks-dwayne-johnson-more/octavia-spencer/  https://timesofsandiego.com/politics/2020/03/29/california-eases-restrictions-on-alcohol-and-marijuana-sales-amid-pandemic/
About the author:
Nicole earned her doctoral degree in Psychology with an emphasis on marriage and family therapy at California School of Professional Psychology. Her doctoral thesis was a grounded theory study exploring the role of alienation and connectedness in the life course of addiction. She specializes in treating addiction and trauma. She is certified in DBT and EMDR, two of the most highly regarded evidence-based methods in psychotherapy. Dr. Doss is a strong LGBT advocate and provides open and affirming support to her LGBT clients.
Dr. Doss’s earlier education included graduating cum laude from the University of California, Irvine in June of 2007 with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. While there, she received honors recognition by Psi Chi and Golden Key honor societies.
Nicole has been working with alcoholics and addicts in our California drug and alcohol rehab center as an advisor and counselor for many years. She is passionate about providing quality counseling and care to her clients. Her main focus is on integrating the 12 Step and disease models of addiction with experiential therapeutic theory. She is married to Greg; they have two adorable sons together and an energetic yellow Labrador Retriever.