Can Mental Health Screenings Prevent Addiction?


Experts recognize that drug and alcohol abuse and mental disorders often go hand-in-hand. So is it possible to prevent substance abuse disorders through mental health screenings?

Substance use and mental health issues usually interact in one of two ways: by exaggerating the symptoms of a mental health disorder or by counteracting them.

For example, someone struggling with depression may find their symptoms are intensified by the use of alcohol (a depressant). Drinking alcohol can make them feel hopeless, sluggish, or even suicidal. By exacerbating those symptoms, the individual may begin to feel so disengaged with life that they continually return to alcohol and sink deeper into depression and addiction.

However, other individuals may self-medicate their depression with the use of a stimulant like cocaine. Such stimulants fight the most common symptoms of depression by making the person feel more alert and energetic. However, once that high wears off, the depression symptoms can come crashing back, making it more difficult for that individual to cope with their emotions. This cycle encourages repeated use of the stimulant and can lead to addiction. In both cases, an existing mental health disorder facilitates the growth of the individual’s addiction.

Related Post: Co-Occurring Disorders: Treating Mental Health and Addiction

Mental Health Screenings

If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of a mental health disorder, an assessment is an important next step. A licensed mental health professional or physician can administer an assessment to help diagnose a mental health disorder. During these screenings, clients, family members, and current treatment providers (if applicable) are interviewed. Upon completion, the professional will review findings and recommend treatment options.

Early screenings mean that individuals can get the treatment they need sooner, thus leading to better outcomes. Instead of turning to drugs or alcohol to relieve symptoms, individuals can receive therapy, get medications, and learn coping mechanisms needed to manage their mental health disorder.

For individuals who do have co-occurring disorders, a lack of mental health disorder awareness and treatment resources can make it difficult to get the care that they need. Although many addiction treatment programs, including Pyramid Healthcare’s, offer dual diagnosis treatment to address clients’ existing mental health issues, addressing these disorders early on may decrease the likelihood of addiction.

Many Pyramid Healthcare facilities offer dual diagnosis treatment, as well as mental health treatment for teens and adults.

If you believe that you or someone you know is struggling with addiction and mental health issues, call Pyramid Healthcare at (888) 694-9996 for more information. There is no obligation to enter treatment when you call.

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