The mission of Healthy365 and our Support Navigators is to help residents find solutions to some of our community’s most pressing health issues. Two of these top wellness concerns are mental health and substance misuse, or addiction. And in fact, research shows that there are direct connections between mental health and substance misuse, but in many cases, one or both can go untreated. But with the help of Healthy365, our Hancock County residents can get connected to resources to support their unique needs. 

What is comorbidity?

The term “comorbidity” describes when two conditions, such as mental health disorders and addiction or substance use disorder, can occur in an individual simultaneously. Although neither disorder causes the other, there are often underlying mental health issues in those suffering from substance misuse. And they can also exacerbate the symptoms of the other. 

This explanation is also supported by the fact that mental health conditions and substance misuse are both chronic brain disorders. The mind of someone struggling with addiction has been permanently rewired to work differently than before, affecting the same areas of the brain that are affected by depression, anxiety, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. And on the flip side of the coin, some people with mental health disorders may be more likely to become addicted to substances in an effort to self-medicate and cope with the pain of their condition. 

Identifying a dual diagnosis

Because the symptoms and connections between mental health and substance misuse are so similar, it is possible that one could be diagnosed while the other goes untreated. Inadequate training or mental health screenings that only diagnose one condition can make it more likely for the symptoms of both to continue. Especially when it comes to substance misuse, achieving sobriety can be extremely difficult while also dealing with an untreated mental health condition.

At Healthy365, we seek to educate our community to better identify the symptoms of these disorders in themselves or their loved ones in order to get the proper help. Our QPR training is a suicide prevention course that stands for “Question, Persuade and Refer,” which are three steps you can take to identify and assist someone in crisis. We also offer a full-day Mental Health First Aid Training, which gives people the tools to identify when someone might be struggling with a mental health or substance misuse problem, and to connect them with appropriate support and resources when necessary.

Getting treatment for the connections between mental health and substance misuse

When a dual diagnosis has been made, it is important to get the proper treatment. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, nearly 9 million people have a co-occurring disorder, but sadly only 7 percent get treatment for both conditions, and roughly 60 percent receive no treatment at all. The top research indicates that comorbid conditions should be treated at the same time, or for best results, patients can even undergo an integrated treatment.

Early detection is very important to provide individuals with the proper integrated treatment. Because patients with co-occurring disorders can suffer from more persistent and severe symptoms that come with both conditions, receiving treatment and maintaining sobriety may be much more difficult than if they were to have a substance use disorder alone. At Healthy365, it is important to us to find the best local treatment option for our clients, including dual-diagnosis centers as well as residential treatment, outpatient centers, teen-specific treatment and centers for women who may have also suffered from domestic violence or a history of abuse.

If you believe you or a loved one may be in need of support for a mental health condition, substance misuse disorder, or both, contact Healthy365 today at 317-468-4231 or visit the Connection Center in Greenfield. We would be honored to help your family find the best treatment and support for your situation.