Why do people abuse drugs and alcohol to the point of addiction and in the face of obvious life consequences? This question has perplexed many since the scourge of addiction was first studied. The fact is that most people don’t choose to continue abusing drugs or alcohol because they enjoy being addicts. They don’t keep falling deeper and deeper into addiction because it’s fun. Many substance abusers need psychiatric care.

Stopping Substance Abuse Where It Starts

Many substance abusers have underlying mental health issues that serve to fuel their addictions until they are addressed. Fortunately, Unity Behavioral Health has the highly-trained psychiatric staff to identify and address these mental health issues so that our patients can have the best possible chance at a successful recovery over the long term. The majority of people with substance use disorders continue abusing drugs and alcohol due to symptoms of diagnosed and undiagnosed mental illness. Many are struggling with unexplained and otherwise untreated feelings of depression and anxiety, in addition to a host of other potential mental health disorders.

Mental Illness & Drug Abuse: A Vicious Cycle

Mental illness can lead individuals to abuse more drugs in a vain search for relief. The result is a vicious cycle that almost always deteriorates into an addiction.

In an effort to feel “normal” and gain some control over these symptoms, many turn to drugs and alcohol because it’s the most readily available solution. One of the many problems with this approach is that drugs and alcohol do not improve symptoms of mental illness – they merely mask and often exacerbate them. This leads individuals to abuse more drugs in a vain search for relief. This common pattern of substance abuse necessitates the need for psychiatric care during addiction rehab.

I want to break free from the cycle of mental illness and substance abuse.

Uncovering the link between your psychiatric illness and your substance abuse will help you gain control of both conditions. Unity Behavioral Health employs a team of cross-trained addiction care professionals who will help you break the cycle of addiction and mental illness.

HELPLINE: 561-708-5295

Common Mental Health Disorders that Co-occur with Addiction

If someone you care for is struggling with addiction, there’s a chance that he or she also has a mental illness. Estimates indicate that more than half of Americans who have a mental illness also have a substance use disorder, and over half of people with substance use disorders also have another mental illness.

Nearly 9 million Americans who abuse drugs also have a co-occurring mental health issue.

For those living with such a dual diagnosis, it is hard to maintain employment, develop and maintain relationships, build financial stability and handle familial responsibilities, among many other obligations associated with leading a healthy life.

Depressive disorders

Common mood disorders that cause severe symptoms, affecting how you feel, think, behave and handle everyday activities.

Bipolar disorder

A brain disorder that causes sudden and unusual changes in mood, energy, activity levels and your ability to carry out day-to-day tasks.

Anxiety disorders

A group of mental disorders that are marked by uncontrollable feelings of stress and fear.

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder

A brain disorder characterized by an unending pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity that interferes with everyday functioning and development.

Post-traumatic stress disorder

A disorder that develops in individuals following exposure to a shocking, scary or dangerous event.

Eating disorders

A range of psychological disorders that are marked by abnormal, unhealthy eating habits.

When assessing an individual with both mental illness and a substance abuse problem determining what led to what or where one condition begins and the other ends is a near impossibility due to the number of factors involved. Additionally, symptoms of each disorder closely resemble each other, making it difficult for even professionals to determine which one caused the other.

photo of an older man receiving a prescription from a psychiatrist who is discussing the content

If a person drinks to drown out his depression, how could any addiction rehab that doesn’t include treatment for his depression be successful? If a person shoots up heroin to cope with trauma, any addiction treatment that does not address and resolve that trauma is bound to fail. Simply put, anyone with a dual diagnosis needs concurrent treatment for both disorders to have success in rehab and recovery. With addiction and mental illness co-occurring so often, it’s imperative that any substance abuse treatment include psychiatric care.

Unity Behavioral Health offers psychiatric services from the first week of treatment through graduation. During this period, our clinical professionals will utilize a number of methods, including:

Psychiatric evaluations

Health and physical exams

Daily nursing assessments

Medication stabilization

Warning Signs of Dual Diagnosis

While any addictive disorder is difficult to treat, a dual diagnosis presents extra challenges. People with dual diagnoses have more severe and persistent symptoms, are less responsive to treatment and more prone to environmental risk factors than people with a single diagnosis. Medication options are also often limited because of the potential for abuse.

Here are some warning signs to look for:

  • You’ve felt extremely sad or hopeless for longer than two weeks, whether or not you were under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
  • You generally drink or use drugs in response to feelings of anxiety or because of painful memories.
  • You have a history of trauma or abuse that has not been addressed with a mental health professional.
  • You have trouble keeping a job or maintaining relationships as a result of substance abuse.
  • You feel as though you cannot control your moods or feelings of distress without the aid of drugs and/or alcohol.
  • You rely on drugs and/or alcohol in social situations or in other situations that cause fear or anxiety.
  • You have been treated for depression, anxiety or another psychiatric disorder in the past.
  • You struggle to complete tasks without the aid of drugs or alcohol.
  • Substance abuse has caused you to be isolated from friends and family members.

Improve Long-Term Results with Psychiatric Care

photo of a man and a woman holding both of their hands clasped together in a supportive fashionIt’s important to remember that the goal of addiction rehab is to help patients become sober and then maintain that sobriety on their own in the real world. Remaining abstinent in a controlled rehab facility where access to drugs and alcohol is eliminated, distractions are reduced and stress is minimized is one thing; doing so in everyday life, where none of these protections are provided is another.

Psychiatric care offers addiction recovery patients an extra relapse prevention tool. It allows them to understand how their mental state has impacted their substance abuse, recognize their vulnerabilities and put themselves in a better position to combat this going forward. Therapy increases self-awareness and will also serve to teach patients how to better handle symptoms of mental illness and general stress without substance abuse.

Our professionals at Unity Behavioral Health are committed to providing the best addiction rehab and psychiatric services in the industry. We are a leading, licensed Florida addiction care facility with a focus on helping patients defeat addiction now and over the long-haul. We invite you to learn more about our services and our other programs by contacting us today at 561-708-5295.

Suggested Reading

Prescription Drug Treatment

Read More
Chronic Pain Management During the Addiction Recovery Process

Read More

Get Help Now

Speak to one of our experienced and caring representatives at Unity Behavioral Health to learn about how our rehab programs can help your loved one defeat addiction.


24 Hr HELPLINE : 561-708-5295