Alcohol Addiction and Dual Diagnosis

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Last Updated on May 31, 2021 by

Alcohol Addiction is a medical issue that damages the lives of those who suffer from it and the lives of everyone who cares for them. Alcohol addiction, also known as alcohol use disorder (AUD), is a mental health disorder in which the drug induces long-term changes in brain function, according to the American Psychiatric Association (APA). Continued usage and relapse are more probable as a result of these improvements. Alcoholism can have a variety of effects on a person’s emotional, physical, social, and spiritual health because symptoms can vary from mild to extreme.

According to the National Institute on Substance Abuse and Alcoholism, about 18 million people in the United States suffer from alcoholism. These illnesses can be debilitating and even fatal. Alcohol can be extremely addictive, particularly when consumed in large quantities over a short period of time. There are many steps to the development of alcoholism. Alcohol addiction can start with the first drink, with physical and mental causes that can rapidly escalate. It’s vital to watch out for early warning signs of alcohol addiction because it appears to get worse over time. Developing a tolerance to alcohol, letting professional and personal obligations slide in favor of drinking, drinking more of it than you expected, wanting to quit and unable to, spending an excessive amount of time attempting to get and drink alcohol, and experiencing symptoms of withdrawal when you stop, are all signs of alcohol addiction. Someone with an alcohol addiction can be able to prevent major effects of the condition if they are diagnosed and treated early.

When chronic alcohol addiction becomes a problem, physical, emotional, and mental health all fail. Since alcohol abuse is classified as a psychological condition by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), it is advised that alcoholics and the people dealing with binge drinking and alcohol dependence get medical help so as to discover how to live a life void of alcohol.

If you have worries about a loved one’s alcohol addiction, it’s best to handle them in a positive manner. Please do not put them down or make them feel bad. This will drive them away and make them more resentful of your assistance.

Who Should Seek Treatment for Addiction to Alcohol?

Men and women, young and old, wealthy and poor, are all affected by alcohol abuse.  While trends in alcohol consumption and forms of alcohol abuse differ, the end result is just the same: severe health issues and the development of a deadly alcohol addiction. Even the set of people who are constitutionally too young to drink has an issue with alcohol, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism; 13 percent of eighth graders, 28 percent of tenth graders, and 41 percent of high school seniors registered past alcohol use. In addition, 5% of eighth graders, almost 15% of tenth graders, as well as more than 26% of 12th graders said they had been intoxicated.

Who is in need of treatment for alcohol addiction? Everyone who is unable to quit drinking despite the adverse effects – also when alcohol addiction is a problem, it affects every aspect of life negatively.

Many people struggle with alcohol control at some point in their lives. About 17 million people aged 18 and up suffer from an Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD), and one out of every ten children lives in a household that has someone with alcohol addiction

What is the Difference Between the Abuse of and Addiction to Alcohol?

Alcohol addiction and alcohol abuse are two distinct forms of drinking, according to PubMed Health, but both are harmful to the person drinking. Alcohol addiction and alcohol abuse may be caused by psychological or social causes in certain people. In social situations, they can drink to relax or loosen up. Others turn to alcohol to deal with psychological problems or everyday tension.

You have advanced to the stage of alcohol addiction if you are using it in a risky way, and it is causing problems in your life. You have not yet been physically or mentally addicted to this drug, despite the fact that you abuse it.

Alcohol addiction is commonly described as a physical dependency on alcohol, but it may also involve psychological dependence.

Alcoholism and alcohol abuse can lead to serious health problems. Certain diseases, such as osteoporosis, are exacerbated by alcohol. It has the potential to cause cancer in some people. Alcohol addiction also makes diagnosing other health problems, such as heart disease, more difficult. Because of the way alcohol influences the circulatory system, this is the case. When alcohol abuse is a problem, it creates difficulties in the drinker’s daily life – health problems, legal issues, money troubles, and so on – but it does not lead to physical addiction. Alcohol addiction is a problem characterized by a physical and psychological addiction to alcohol that controls the drinker’s every decision and behaviour. All of these problems can be addressed in an alcohol treatment centre.

When is a Dual Diagnosis Needed for Addiction to Alcohol?

A Dual Diagnosis is apparent when a patient has both alcohol addiction and a mental health diagnosis such as anxiety, depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder,  or other disorders. 

While certain mental health disorders are somewhat likely to occur in people with alcohol addiction, alcoholics are so much more likely than non-alcoholics to struggle with a mental health disorder. Similarly, anyone with a mental illness is much more likely to experience alcohol addiction than someone who does not have a mental illness. About 7.9 million people in the United States have dual diagnoses (with any drug and any disorder). Alcohol is by far the most widely abused drug in this community, as it is among the general population.

The connection between alcohol and mental health is intricate and intertwined. Many people suffering from mental illnesses use alcohol as a form of self-medication or escape. Many mental health problems make it more difficult for people to avoid drinking, whether for one night or for an extended period of time. Addiction to alcohol and other risky drinking habits, such as binge drinking, are more likely as a result of this. On the other hand, alcohol exacerbates the effects of many mental health disorders, brings them on earlier and more often, and prolongs their length. There is some evidence that alcohol addiction can cause some mental health problems, especially depression, but these findings are debatable.

Since heavy drinking associated with addiction to alcohol may coexist with, lead to, or result from many different psychiatric disorders, clinicians dealing with alcohol-abusing or alcohol addiction patients often face a daunting challenge evaluating their patients’ psychiatric complaints. Clinicians may use an algorithm to differentiate between alcohol-related psychological signs and symptoms, alcohol-induced psychological disorders, and independent psychiatric conditions that are generally correlated with alcohol addiction in order to improve the accuracy of diagnosis. To make an accurate diagnosis, the clinician has to take into account the patient’s gender, family history, and the progression of the disease over time. 

People who are going through alcohol addiction are two to three times more likely than the general population to be diagnosed with anxiety disorders, according to the National Institutes of Health. In addition, a National Institute of Substance Abuse and Alcoholism study showed that patients with a history of addiction to alcohol were more than 4 times more likely than those without a history of alcohol abuse and addiction to have a major depressive episode.

What is the Treatment for a Dual Diagnosis?

When a patient is struggling with issues relating to both a mental health condition and an alcohol addiction, medical attention for both cases must be received at the same time. While in the past, this was thought that addiction to alcohol should be addressed first, followed by mental health problems; nevertheless, it was soon discovered that while Dual Diagnosis patients were not seeking medication for their mental health problems, it was nearly impossible for them to prevent relapse in early recovery.

Patients frequently turn to drinking alcohol to self-medicate the mental health problems they face leading ot alcohol addiction, and untreated signs and symptoms may serve as a catalyst for relapse if adequate healthcare and psychotherapeutic care are not given.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration considers the integrated care treatment model to be the best practice for treating people with co-occurring alcohol abuse and mental health problems. When care is coordinated and thorough, patients are more likely to remain involved and participate in treatment. Integrated treatment methods are customized to each patient’s particular needs. Many positive results have been attributed to the treatment strategy. 

People who receive integrated treatment for alcohol addiction and a co-occurring disorder are more likely to remain sober, have a substantial reduction in their symptoms, visit the hospital less often, live independently, have stable jobs, and report feeling happy about their lives, according to research. The aim of integrated treatment is to teach patients how to stay sober or substantially reduce their drug use or alcohol addiction while still managing the effects of their mental illness. This is achieved by the use of appropriate counseling and behavioral therapy techniques, as well as medications in some cases.

Contact us today on 615-490-9376 for more information you need to treat issues of alcohol abuse and mental health issues successfully. Treatment for dual diagnoses might be just what you need to get better for alcohol addiction.