Tag Archives: Dual Diagnosis

The Addicted Brain: The Dopamine Effect

The Addicted Brain-Dopamine EffectSubstance Abuse’s Effect On Dopamine

Every drug that leads to dependence has been shown to affect the brain’s dopamine system. With some drugs, such as stimulants like amphetamines and cocaine, there is a direct effect on dopamine production while others appear to affect it indirectly.

In the case of alcohol, it does not increase dopamine levels directly. However, there is an indirect link. In fact, everything that provides pleasure has the ability to perpetuate a release of dopamine in the reward pathway of the brain along with triggering an endorphin release.

Research has shown that dopamine produces feelings of “wanting” and “reward,” but this is not the same thing as “liking” or “valuation.” In other words, the dopamine produced from something pleasurable can make you crave more of it and will reinforce habitual use of it whether this is drugs, alcohol, gambling, shopping, sex, or other pleasurable activity.

The Link Between Addiction And Mental Illness

While anyone can gain the dopamine effect of drugs or alcohol, it is much more complex when it comes to someone who is also struggling with a mental illness like anxiety or depression. For these individuals, addictive substances are used to not only gain the benefits of increased dopamine, they are also used to medicate the often painful symptoms of mental illness. This makes both diagnosis and treatment more challenging. This is why it’s so important to choose an addiction treatment provider that has experience and expertise in treating co-occurring disorders.

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Understanding The Numbers Of Addiction

No one begins taking drugs or alcohol with the intention of becoming addicted. Yet, a substantial percentage get caught into the trap of drug or alcohol abuse and addiction. A few statistics to consider:

  • Nearly one in 10 Americans are addicted to alcohol or drugs.
  • It’s estimated that over 95% of individuals who need treatment for alcohol addiction do not really believe they need treatment.
  • The top five most addicting drugs are heroin, cocaine, meth, opioid prescription pain relievers and alcohol.

Do You Have A Drug Or Alcohol Addiction?

Are you concerned that you or a loved one has an addiction to drugs or alcohol? The answer can sometimes seem unclear. Here are a few questions to ask:

  • Do you or your loved one use more of the substance or engage in the behavior more often than in the past?
  • Do you or your loved one experience withdrawal symptoms when you stop using the substance?
  • Have you or your loved one ever lied to anyone about your use of the substance?

If you’ve answered “yes” to any of these questions, addiction is a very real possibility.

It’s Not Easy Admitting That You Need HelpReaching Out-Help For Addiction

Although much more is known now about addiction than in decades past, there is still a stigma and shame associated with it. It can be difficult to admit that you have a problem and that you need help. However, the first step in getting help is reaching out to get it. Call a staff member at Summit Estate today. We will treat you with the respect and care that you need.

We will be with you every step of the way. Call now.

Like What You’ve Read? Check Out More In: The Neurological Science Behind Substance Abuse Addiction

The Neurological Science Behind Substance Abuse Addiction

Substance use and abuse starts when an individual likes the way a particular substance makes them feel. For some of us, it’s possible to enjoy a drink or use a drug and never become hooked. Others cross a distinct threshold and transition into addiction.

A growing amount of research has shown that during this transitional phase into addiction, there are distinct changes that happen in the brain. Because of this evidence that clearly shows addiction is far more than just a character flaw, the science community now widely accepts that addiction should be categorized as a brain disease.

Dopamine And Addiction

Neurological Brain-Dopamine And AddictionThe human brain has evolved in such a way that we learn to survive based on a reward system. When we do things that support our survival, such as eat or exercise, our brain rewards this behavior by releasing a “feel good” chemical called dopamine. Because we enjoy the feeling when this chemical is released, we repeat these behaviors.

Along with the necessities of survival, there are also a variety of substances that affect the “reward center” of our brains. These include drugs and alcohol which release high levels of dopamine. In fact, the release of the chemical can be two to 10 times greater than what is normally released, producing a “high.” Users of these substances can develop a habit to sustain that positive feeling when dopamine is released. This can quickly turn into addiction.

This cycle is further propelled as the brain struggles to regain balance after the effect of a substance wears off. This struggle can produce symptoms of a hangover or withdrawal which can cause physical, mental and emotional pain. For the individual, the substance that is perpetuating the destructive cycle is many times used to combat this pain, further strengthening the addiction.

The Link Between Drug And Alcohol Abuse And Mental Illness

Of course, not everyone who drinks a glass of wine or takes a prescription painkiller will become an addict. Some individuals are more prone to developing an addiction than others. This further shows a connection between the brain and addiction. In those who have a mental health condition, such as anxiety or depression, the chance of developing an addiction is significantly higher. Often, drugs or alcohol are used to help numb the symptoms of mental illness.

According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, approximately 50 percent of individuals with severe mental disorders are also affected by substance abuse. And, 37 percent of alcohol abusers and 53 percent of drug abusers also have at least one serious mental illness. The link between addiction and mental illness is strong, and many who enter treatment discover they require treatment for both addiction and an underlying mental illness. This is why it’s so important to choose a recovery center that has expertise in dual diagnosis addiction treatment.

Are You Struggling With Addiction And Mental Illness?

Women Overlooking Lake-Struggling With Addiction And Mental Illness

You’re not alone. In fact, many people who have a mental illness also abuse alcohol and/or drugs. Don’t take chances with getting the help you need. At Summit Estate, we specialize in treating individuals who have dual diagnosis by treating both the addiction and the mental illness with a personalized treatment plan. Call us to speak with an addiction specialist now.

Learn More About Our Dual Diagnosis Treatment

The Role Of Mental Health In Addiction

The challenges of mental illness often go hand-in-hand with drug or alcohol abuse. This makes both conditions difficult to diagnose and to treat.

Wildflower Closeup-The Role Of Mental Health In AddictionThe link between addiction and psychological problems is complex and not completely understood. What is known is that mental illness can increase the risk of drug abuse and alcoholism. Very often, the individual suffering from a mental illness will use a substance to self-medicate and cope with side effects that aren’t being properly managed.

The flip side of this common link is that drug and alcohol abuse can lead to depression, anxiety, and other mental conditions. Very often, untreated addiction and mental illness will propel each other, leading to a self-perpetuating cycle that is very difficult to treat.

Common Mental Conditions Connected With Addiction

Some of the most common mental conditions that are connected with drug or alcohol dependency include:

Anxiety – Alcohol is commonly abused by individuals who suffer from addiction. Often the addiction begins at a young age to deal with the challenges of being in social situations and to overcome feelings of shyness and being overwhelmed by everyday challenges.

Depression – Some individuals begin abusing drugs or alcohol to mask symptoms of depression. This is particularly common in females who have depression.

Bipolar Disorder – Alcohol is also frequently used by men and women who suffer from mood swings associated with bipolar disorder.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder – Substances are commonly used by those suffering from the very difficult symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder that include flashbacks, sleep disturbances, regression, and anger.

Schizophrenia – Hallucinations, delusions, and other psychotic symptoms lead some to drug use to ease symptoms of distress and fear.

Other Connections Between Addiction And Mental Illness

There are also other proven links between addiction and mental illness. These include neuro-chemical and environmental factors. Genetics also play an important role. While the connection between mental illness and addiction is multi-faceted and not completely understood, it is necessary to proactively treat the conditions simultaneously.

What To Do If Your Loved One Is Struggling With Mental Illness And Addiction

A common question that people ask when they have a friend or family member who is struggling with depression, anxiety, or other mental illness and is self-medicating with drugs or alcohol, is “What do I do if my loved one is struggling with mental illness and addiction?” The first step is getting them evaluated to determine the best possible treatment program for them. A one-size-fits-all approach to overcoming addiction is not wise for someone who is suffering from co-occurring disorders.

For effective and individualized treatment for co-occurring disorders in Northern California, call Summit Estate now for immediate help. We’re here to answer your questions and to begin the admissions process.

Learn More About Our Co-Occurring Disorders Treatment

Is There A Link Between An Empty Nest And Depression?

Link Between An Empty Next And Depression-SummitEstate.comThe time when children leave home for college or careers can bring on feelings of sadness, loneliness, and grief in many parents. Coined “empty nest syndrome” by health professionals, this transition can lead some men and women to depression and even to turn to drugs or alcohol.

As a parent, the focus is on providing a loving, nurturing environment for children. When they begin to establish their independence, it can bring on a sense of loss and negative feelings that persist and lead to depression.

Although many “empty nesters” find freedom and a sense of relief in an empty house with more time for hobbies and interests, others find themselves emotionally vulnerable. Some even dwell on lost opportunities or begin to feel like they’re no longer needed.

Who Is At Risk Of Empty Nest Syndrome?

Those who have experienced depression in the past or who have a family history of the condition are more likely to develop empty nest syndrome. Major life changes such as a child leaving home can spawn negative feelings and the desire to self-medicate with alcohol, prescription pain medications, or other substances.

Factors That Can Cause Empty Nest Syndrome

There are often multiple contributing factors that cause this type of depression including:

Loss Of Identity – As a primary caregiver, it’s easy to become engrossed in the role of being a parent. When an adult child leaves home, there sometimes is a loss of an identity that has been present for 18 or more years.

Guilt – Many parents fear that they did not adequately do their job to prepare their children for the real world. This can spawn feelings of guilt and regret.

Financial Issues – Worries about college tuition and other college-related expenses can place many parents under a high level of stress.

Relationship Changes – Without the time-consuming task of raising children, many couples are unprepared for how to live life without having to manage the daily responsibilities of being a parent.

Getting Help For Depression And Addiction

For many parents struggling with empty nest syndrome, it’s wise to get help from an experienced mental health professional. If there is also a co-occurring addiction, a recovery program might be the right first step in recovery.

Summit Estate offers in-patient co-occurring disorders treatment in Los Gatos, CA for substance abuse and depression. If you need help for the feelings you’re experiencing since your children have left home, don’t delay in getting help.

You Don’t Need To Hurt Another Day – Call Us Now – We Are Here For You 24/7

The Addiction & Mental Illness Connection & Effective Dual Diagnosis Treatment

Research from the National Institute on Drug Abuse has shown that 6 in 10 individuals who suffer from substance abuse also have at least one mental illness. Many suffer from anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress (PTS), and other mood disorders. Because of this, substance abuse treatment for many must also include treatment for mental illness.

There has been substantial research that indicates that individuals who are suffering from addiction and have a co-occurring mental illness have better outcomes when their disorders are treated together with a combination of therapies and medication.

The Connection Between Substance Abuse And Mental Illness

View-Effective Dual Diagnosis Treatment In Northern CA-SummitEstateSubstance abuse and mental illness are frequently experienced together, and the relationship is cyclical. Individuals with co-occurring disorders are likely to use alcohol or drugs to combat symptoms of their mental illness. This is particularly the case for those who don’t have their mental illness managed effectively. As well, drug or alcohol abuse can lead to the development of mental health issues partly because of the depletion of neurotransmitter chemicals in the brain.

Treatment for co-occurring disorders can be particularly challenging because psychiatric symptoms are often covered up by the use of substances. This is compounded by the fact that the process of detoxification can also resemble mental illness.

In a study conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), researchers found that less than 10 percent of those suffering from co-occurring disorders get treatment. While this number is small, it is increasing as more healthcare professionals, as well as the general public become more aware of the connection between addiction and mental illness.

For those who enter into a dual diagnosis treatment program, the chance of sustaining recovery is substantially greater than for those who enter into a recovery program that doesn’t address underlying mental illness.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment In Northern CA

At Summit Estate, our inpatient program includes individualized co-occurring disorders treatment for both substance abuse and mental illness. At our dual diagnosis treatment center in northern, CA, each client receives the care they need to start on their journey to recovery, along with mental health treatment to provide a strong foundation for long-term recovery.

If you or a loved one needs help with co-occurring disorders, contact Summit Estate Recovery Center today.

We Will Treat You And Your Loved Ones With Much Deserved Respect Individualized Care!

My Loved One Has A Dual Diagnosis, What Now?

It can be overwhelming to find out that your loved one is suffering from a dual diagnosis of substance abuse and mental illness. You may be wondering where you should begin when it comes to getting help and moving forward.

Dual Diagnosis Stats – Your Loved One Is Not Alone

First, it’s important to know that your loved one is not alone. Dual diagnosis is common. Here are just a few statistics from the Journal of the American Medical Association that may surprise you:

  • Loved One-Dual Diagnosis Treatment In CA-Summit EstateApproximately 50 percent of individuals with severe mental illness are also affected by substance abuse.
  • More than one-third of alcohol abusers and over 50 percent of drug abusers have at least one significant mental illness.
  • Of all individuals diagnosed with mental illness, nearly 30 percent abuse either alcohol or drugs.

Unfortunately, many individuals who have co-occurring disorders never receive proper treatment. In fact, less than 10 percent are treated for both their substance abuse and their mental illness.

So, it’s a positive first step that your loved one has been diagnosed. Now, it’s time to get help.

Finding The Right Treatment For Dual Diagnosis

Getting effective treatment for a dual diagnosis isn’t always simple. Many drug and alcohol rehabilitation centers are solely focused on treating addiction and not mental illness. Likewise, anxiety and depression treatment centers may not have the resources to effectively address addiction.

Until recently, addiction problems and underlying mental illness have been treated separately. However, significant new research has shown the benefits of treating substance abuse and mental health problems as part of an integrated, holistic recovery program.

At Summit Estate, we are dedicated to helping individuals obtain the best chance of recovery with personalized, co-occurring disorders treatment in CA. Our team is highly experienced in treating dual diagnosis by using a recovery strategy that is focused on the individual’s specific needs, challenges, and long-term goals. Treatment can also include individual, couples, and family therapy sessions to help strengthen damaged relationships and support your loved one’s recovery.

Taking The Next Step With Your Loved One

Now that your loved one has received a dual diagnosis, you can help them on their journey to recovery. We encourage you to call us now to learn more about our treatment programs.