Addiction, Mental Illness, and Dual Diagnosis

COVID-19 has changed our lives drastically. It’s challenging to list all the ways our lives have been altered because of the pandemic. Many have lost their jobs, everyone has had to contend with isolation, and some are struggling with mental illness and addiction.

These are stressful times, and many individuals are having difficulty coping with the intense emotions that accompany feeling overwhelmed. Fear of contracting the deadly coronavirus is hard to contend with, and there is no way of knowing what will happen if you contract the virus. Some individuals are asymptomatic, whereas others lose their life.

Nearly 18 million Americans have contracted COVID-19. Some 318,000 men, women, and children have died to date. While there is now a vaccine, it could be many months before the average person can access the life-saving antidote.

In the meantime, it’s essential to do everything you can to safeguard your health and wellbeing. It’s strongly advised that you follow public health guidelines such as wearing protective masks, using hand sanitizers, and avoiding close contact with other people. The more precautions you take, the safer you will be.

Physical health is just as important as mental wellbeing. Please do not neglect your mental health during these challenging times. In recent months, there have been reports of elevated rates of anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress, and substance use. Alcohol sales are through the roof as many people drink in order to cope.

What’s more, new research suggests that people who contract COVID-19 are more susceptible to mental illness, Healthline reports. Psychological issues could arise from both stress and the physical effects of the virus.

One in Five Experience Mental Illness

New research appearing in The Lancet indicates that nearly 20 percent of coronavirus patients develop a mental health condition. Researchers at the University of Oxford and NIHR Oxford Health Biomedical Research Centre found that adults diagnosed with COVID-19 had a two times greater risk for developing a mood disorder for the first time.

“In the case of COVID, most patients know they should avoid transmitting the disease to others and therefore lack that kind of comfort and support,” says Dr. Gail Saltz, a clinical associate professor of psychiatry at the NY Presbyterian Hospital, Weill-Cornell Medicine.

The findings come from evaluating the health records of 69 million people in the United States, according to the article. The researchers found that 18 percent of COVID-19 patients developed a condition like depression or anxiety within three months of diagnosis. It’s vital for men and women struggling with such conditions to receive the help they need.

Men and women living with untreated depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder are more likely to turn to drugs and alcohol to find comfort. Addiction often comes about from self-medicating one’s symptoms; the behavior leads to what is known as a dual diagnosis or co-occurring disorder.

More than half of men and women living with an alcohol or substance use disorder also meet the criteria for a co-occurring mental illness. Positive treatment outcomes depend on treating both addiction and mental illness simultaneously. Neglecting a dual diagnosis often results in relapse.

Addiction and Mental Health Intervention

Whitman Recovery Service is a Telehealth provider for addiction and mental health guidance. Please call (210) 291-0278 if you or someone you care about is struggling with addiction or mental illness. Our team has the expertise to help your family begin the journey of recovery.

At Whitman Recovery Service, we would like to wish everyone in recovery a safe and sober Christmas & New Year’s Eve. Please remember to utilize your tools and stay in regular contact with your support network during this challenging time of the year.