An individual who suffers from both mental illness and alcoholism will need to undergo different treatment. Because alcohol withdrawal symptoms cause a person to experience some psychiatric stress, an alcoholic with mental health issues will find it much more difficult to resist turning to drink. The NIAAA believes the some self-help groups, such as Alcoholics Anonymous, are not effective when it comes to treating people with a dual-diagnosis of both alcoholism and mental illness. This is because these groups tend to specifically focus on the actual addiction itself, rather than any underlying psychological problems. Anti-depressants are improving all the time and it is believed that while a self-help group may not be useful for a dual-diagnosis individual by itself, if the individual is on the appropriate medication and receiving the appropriate psychological therapy it can prove to be just as effective as with other alcoholic individuals. Addiction Recovery: 12 Steps and Beyond (TTA Podcast 321)
This is an ongoing debate in the medical community, but it is generally agreed that there is no one cause for the development of addiction. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, contributing factors may include a genetic predisposition to develop addictive tendencies, an environment that is permissive of drug abuse, access to illicit substances, and certain developmental issues. The existence of a Dual Diagnosis is one of the biggest risk factors for the development of addiction. Heroin Withdrawal | First Week In
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