When it comes to treating addiction to alcohol or drugs, The Hills Treatment Center knows how challenging psychological disorders can be. Addiction is a very powerful disease, and often times mental illness plays a role in your suffering. For some people, a mental illness may be present before an addiction. For others, the addiction itself may cause the development of a psychological disorder. In any case, we’re here to help you discover yourself and begin the healing process.

Understanding how Psychological Disorders Lead to Addiction

depressed woman suffers with psychological disordersPsychological disorders most commonly develop between the ages of 14 and 24. Unfortunately, schools systems often prioritize teaching physical health. Consequently, When the symptoms of mental illness begin to develop, most people are scared and confused. The most common mental illness symptoms include:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • PTSD
  • ADHD
  • Bipolar disorder

Without understanding what’s happening, you can feel like you’re going crazy. Most people refuse to talk to someone for fear of judgment. Rather than getting help from a mental health professional, it’s common for young people to abuse alcohol or drugs. They may find self-medicating helpful which ultimately leads to substance abuse and addiction.

Psychological Disorders and the Habit Loop

From the time we’re born, we have a survival instinct called context-dependent learning. It involves three parts of a loop including trigger, behavior, and reward. Together they lay down a memory. This is important for survival because, for example, when we’re hungry, we eat, and our hunger is satisfied. However, this learning process can work against us when we self-medicate.

Anxiety is a common symptom of mental illness. When you’re feeling anxious (trigger), you may use alcohol or drugs to calm down (behavior), and thus, the anxiety goes away (reward). This lays down a memory in the brain which tells you drugs are the solution to your anxiety. Eventually, it gets to a point where you’re no longer making the conscious decision to use.

The Importance of Treating Mental Illness

The Hills Center knows that the two leading causes of relapse are undiagnosed and untreated mental illness. When you’re dealing with both an addiction and a mental illness, it’s what we call a dual diagnosis. While you’re in treatment, we will treat your mental illness symptoms completely separate from your addiction. It is more difficult to stay sober while you have an untreated mental illness.

While you’re going through the treatment process, you’ll receive a proper diagnosis for your symptoms. This may answer a lot of question. Many people never realize they have a mental illness in the first place. It’s a very liberating experience. You’ll start to make sense of how you’re feeling. Once we identify any underlying co-occurring disorders, we’ll begin to give you solutions.

The Hills Center help many people who struggle with addiction and psychological disorders. We’re here to give you hope. It’s always possible to overcome addiction and mental illness. Give us a call today at 866-323-4665 for more information about our program.