May is Mental Health Awareness Month!
Held every year in the United States since 1949 as a way to raise awareness of the importance of mental health and break the stigma surrounding it, Mental Health Awareness Month began as a campaign and is now supported by thousands of organizations, recovery centers, and more across the country. This year, Mount Sinai Wellness Center is joining countless others in recognizing this month by outlining the connections between mental disorders and addiction. The close relationship between the two is why we have a dual diagnosis program to treat both issues at the same time.
Mental Health Fast Facts
Mental disorders, also known as mental illness, describe a class of conditions that can impact a person’s moods, emotions, thoughts, and behaviors. A person can develop a mental disorder early in life as a result of hereditary factors, such as if a parent had the same disorder, or their mental disorder can be caused by environmental factors such as trauma or abuse. Some common mental disorders include depression, anxiety, PTSD, and bipolar disorder.
Some fast facts the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) has shared to educate the public about how common mental health issues are among American adults include:
- In 2018 alone, around 47.6 million people experienced a mental illness
- Depression is the leading cause of disability in the world
- 17.7 million adults have depression
- 42 million adults have an anxiety disorder
- 7 million adults live with bipolar disorder
- 1.5 million adults struggle with schizophrenia
Dual Diagnosis: How Mental Health & Addiction Intersect
A dual diagnosis, or co-occurring disorder, occurs when a person is struggling with a substance use disorder and a mental disorder at the same time. If you’re dealing with a dual diagnosis, know that this is a common experience—nearly 8.4 million adults in the U.S. have both a mental and substance use disorder, and people with severe mental illness are 4 times as likely to be heavy alcohol users.
Some risk factors for developing a dual diagnosis include:
- Genetics (if people in your family have dealt with mental and substance use disorders before)
There are many reasons why so many people struggle with both types of disorders and having one can influence the development of the order. For people who have mental disorders like depression or PTSD, for instance, abusing alcohol or drugs is often a form of self-medication—a way to handle the symptoms of your mental disorder. Some people dealing with trauma will frequently drink to “black out” and avoid reliving their memories, for example. And people who have addictions to drugs or alcohol can be in a vulnerable state and more likely to end up suffering from a mood disorder. Alcohol is a depressant and long-term abuse can lead to depression.
Whatever mental issue and type of addiction you have, know that the two exacerbate one another, or make the other worse. This is why recovery centers like ours strive to treat both at the same time.
Break the Stigma Today
Though it’s been decades since Mental Health Awareness Month began, there’s still a stigma surrounding mental health. Some people struggling with their mental health may feel ashamed and too scared to ask for help, which is understandable, as a lot of uninformed people judge those living with depression and addiction. At Mount Sinai Wellness Center, we’re here to tell you that asking for professional help is a sign of bravery.
When you join us, you can have both your mental disorder and addiction treated by a team that understands what you’re going through and can treat you with compassion—not judgment. We offer detox, therapy, social support, and other services to help you get sober and in a good mental place.
Learn more about our dual diagnosis program today by contacting us online or by phone at (800) 353-4673. We can tailor your treatment to your unique conditions and needs.