Addiction and Eating Disorder Recovery

Eating Disorder Recovery | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Eating disorders are conditions in which people experience severe disturbances in eating behaviors and related thoughts and emotions. People who suffer from eating disorders are preoccupied with food and often their body weight. It is estimated that 30 million Americans suffer from eating disorders, and they are most often women aged 12-35. There are three main eating disorders: anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder. There are a few other types of eating disorders, however.

Addiction to substances commonly occurs with those who also experience a mental health condition, such as an eating disorder. In fact, recent research revealed that approximately 50% of people who have an eating disorder have also abused drugs or alcohol. This rate is five times that of the general population. Furthermore, 35% of people who engage in substance abuse also experience an eating disorder—a rate 11 times that of the general population.

The most common drugs of abuse among those with eating disorders include alcohol, amphetamines, cocaine, diuretics, laxatives, and heroin. It is no coincidence that many of these substances may be used by someone who is trying to lose or control weight, a common characteristic of an eating disorder.

Substance abuse and eating disorders also share many common risk factors, including genetics, family history, low self-esteem, and mood disorders, such as depression or anxiety. Other shared factors may include a tendency to engage in compulsive or addictive behavior, social isolation, and suicidal ideations.

Is an Eating Disorder an Addiction?

Research has found similarities between the behavioral experience of bulimia and drug addiction. For example, both food and drugs can invoke cravings that often become associated with certain people, places, or circumstances. People experience feelings of pleasure and reward when eating and using drugs, which encourages them to engage in these behaviors repeatedly. 

There are also biological similarities between drug and alcohol addiction and bulimia, however. Other research has revealed that people with bulimia have dopamine abnormalities similar to those who have an addiction to cocaine or alcohol. Also, cravings for both drugs and food are associated with activation in many of the same regions of the brain.

These findings imply that eating disorders may be a type of behavioral addiction, not unlike gambling or hoarding. At the very least, they represent the need to engage in certain activities to fulfill an urge, and will often do so despite the incurrence of adverse consequences.

Addiction and Eating Disorder Recovery Options

Eating Disorder Recovery | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Eating disorder treatment depends on a person’s particular disorder, individual factors, and symptoms. However, it typically includes several components, such as psychotherapy, nutrition education, medical monitoring, and sometimes medications. 

Eating disorders clearly demonstrate the intimate links between emotional and physical well-being. The first step in treating anorexia nervosa is usually to assist the patient in achieving a normal weight. For patients with bulimia nervosa, the first step is often to interrupt the binge-purge pattern of behavior. For patients with binge eating disorder, it is vital to help them refrain from binging. 

However, restoring a person to a healthy weight or temporarily halting the binge-purge cycle does not address the underlying emotional issues that have caused or been made worse by abnormal eating behavior. Psychotherapy, which is usually the center of any treatment program, aims to help people with eating disorders understand the thoughts, emotions, and actions that are at the heart of these disorders. Also, some medications have been proven to be effective in the treatment process.

Generally speaking, eating disorder treatment must involve addressing other mental and physical health problems that contributed to or are caused by an eating disorder, which can be severe or life-threatening if left untreated. For example, people with anorexia are often profoundly undernourished, and 1 in 5 deaths from this disorder is the result of suicide. Moreover, many other health-related factors must be considered when treating an eating disorder to promote the overall wellness of the individual.

Getting Treatment

A comprehensive, personalized approach to eating disorder treatment can help a person manage symptoms, maintain a healthy weight, and improve physical and mental health. If an eating disorder doesn’t improve with conventional treatment or lead to health problems, a person may need to be hospitalized or placed in long-term inpatient treatment.

Addiction to drugs or alcohol is treated in much the same way as eating disorders through a combination of psychotherapy, counseling, and medication. Midwood Addiction Treatment offers the following services, all of which can be beneficial for treating addiction and also addressing issues associated with an eating disorder:

  • Behavioral therapy
  • Individual and family counseling
  • Peer support groups
  • Substance abuse education
  • Medication-assisted treatment
  • Art and music therapy
  • Mindfulness meditation and yoga
  • Aftercare planning

If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction and/or an eating disorder, we urge you to seek help as soon as possible. Contact us today and discover how we help people reclaim their lives and sustain long-term happiness and wellness!

What Is Codependency?

What Is Codependency? | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Codependency is characterized by a close relationship in which one individual has profound emotional needs, and a partner is forced to contribute an excessive amount of time responding to those needs. This frequently occurs to the detriment to one or both partners and even other significant relationships.

Codependency can lead to a downward spiral in which one partner actively tends to and even enables the emotional difficulties of the other. This cycle of behavior permits the loved one to continue acting in unhealthy ways.

What Is Codependency?

A codependent relationship consists of two members: the manipulator and the enabler. The enabler is usually a somewhat passive person who enables the manipulator’s toxic behavior. They may do so either consciously or unknowingly. The enabler often engages in submissive behavior in which he or she is forced to surrender a great deal of personal identity.

In the process, this person will neglect their own needs—or the needs of others—to satisfy the manipulator’s demands. These individuals often feel overly responsible for the feelings and well-being of others.

Codependency perpetuates a cycle of unhealthy behavior that doesn’t really help anyone, and can eventually ruin relationships and lives.

Signs of a codependent person include the following:

  • Poor self-esteem or self-worth
  • People-pleasing behavior
  • Excessive caretaking of others
  • Obsession with being in a relationship
  • An absence of boundaries (e.g., offering unsolicited advice)

Signs of an emotional manipulator include the following:

  • Deceptiveness, and being prone to skew other’s perceptions and reality
  • Engaging in behaviors that aren’t in line with their words
  • Frequently trying to make the other partner feel shame or guilt, especially when there is no reason for them to feel this way
  • Acting as if he or she is the victim and is never at fault
  • Frequently doing or saying things to instigate emotional reactions from the partner
  • Eagerly volunteering or agreeing to help in a certain activity, only to complain that it’s a huge burden on him or her and that the partner should feel indebted
  • Having a tendency to “one-up” other people by claiming that things are worse for them than others

An interesting but unfortunately feature of the manipulator is that they tend to dive into relationships almost haphazardly. When they identify a person they feel they can manipulate emotionally, they will jump in and try to secure their footing in the relationship as soon as possible. They often share too much too soon and expect the enabler to as well. Although they may exhibit vulnerability and sensitivity, this is really a ploy to make the other person feel special, empathetic, and ultimately bound to their feelings.

In general, manipulators are an emotional black hole—whatever they are feeling, they aim to suck others around them into those emotions for as long as possible. If he or she is in a bad mood, everyone around them will know it. And they are skillful at making others feel responsible for their moods and obligated to fix them.

What Is Codependency? | Midwood Addiction Treatment

 

Codependency and Drug Addiction

If just one member of a codependent relationship is abusing drugs or alcohol, it is usually the manipulator. This person frequently manipulates the partner into helping them get what they want. These wants may include money, shelter, alcohol, drugs, or any number of other resources. Manipulators know they have an advantage over the partner, and they use it to their benefit.

Codependency can occur without the presence of substance abuse, but the two are often correlated. In fact, codependent relationships were first identified among family members of alcoholics. Due in part to the toxic nature of addiction, codependent behavior is very common among those who have intimate relationships with another person who is struggling.

Codependency and addiction can manifest in a few different ways:

  • Among partners who both abuse substances
  • Among close adult family members and friends of a person abusing substances
  • Among the minor children of people who are abusing substances

Sometimes the codependent person in the relationship is not a spouse or significant other. Instead, they may be the child of a person who abuses drugs and alcohol. This situation is more likely to occur when an addiction has progressed to the point that the child is required to take care of the parent’s needs frequently.

Adverse Effects and Risks for the Codependent Enabler

If the manipulating partner is abusing drugs or alcohol, both partners may experience many negative effects and risks based on the circumstances. 

Some of these risks include the following:

  • Increased risk of also developing an addiction, either to substances or behaviors
  • Deep-felt loss of relationships and being social with others outside of the codependent relationship
  • Inability to tend to obligations outside of the codependent relationship
  • Neglect of personal needs, which can lead to poor health, depression, and worsening self-esteem

Adverse Effects and Risks for the Codependent or Manipulator

What Is Codependency? | Midwood Addiction Treatment

As for the individual struggling with substance abuse, the codependent relationship can also undermine his or her potential for recovery. In this case, the codependent relationship is an enabling force in the substance abuser’s life and may discourage them from making positive changes.

In fact, the enabling person may genuinely want to help his or her partner, but may also worry that the other person won’t need them any longer after the addiction is under control. This possibility may impede attempts to get help and allow the manipulator to continue suffering from addiction and face the related physical and mental health risks it produces.

This factor can lead to another significant risk if the person with an addiction does decide to get treatment. The enabling partner may feel at least somewhat dependent on their partner’s problems to maintain the relationship, so a return to this relationship after treatment could increase the risk of relapse for the addicted person.

Many contend that codependency may be regarded as a behavioral addiction itself. And because certain behaviors or compulsions are entangled with substance abuse, this can make it more challenging to address all the problems that an individual is facing.

Getting Treatment for Codependency and Addiction

Understanding and overcoming codependent behavior should be a vital part of an individual’s treatment when he or she enters a program. If issues in a codependent relationship go unresolved, the likelihood that an individual will be able to sustain long-term sobriety is diminished. This is true regardless of whether it’s the enabler, the manipulator, or both who are engaging in substance abuse.

Fortunately, there are several components of evidence-based treatment programs that can assist and support both partners in the codependent relationship and help them learn to interact in a healthier, more constructive manner. The enabling partner is usually encouraged to undergo long-term behavioral therapy to improve his or her self-confidence and ability to communicate personal needs and establish boundaries. 

For those seeking help for addiction, a comprehensive treatment program, such as those provided by Midwood Addiction Treatment, offer customized plans designed to address the challenges associated with codependency. Using evidence-based methods, from behavioral therapy and family counseling to adventure therapy, we help individuals learn to overcome barriers that result from codependency and improve the likelihood of sustaining long-lasting recovery.

You can reclaim your life and experience the happiness and well-being you deserve! Call us today and discover how we can help you begin your recovery journey!

Anger Management Therapy and Addiction

Anger Management Therapy and Addiction | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Anger is a powerful and sometimes dangerous emotion that may be characterized by agitation, annoyance, severe displeasure, or hostility. Anger is a normal human emotion that nearly everyone will experience at least occasionally and is often a legitimate reaction when expressed in a healthy manner. Poor anger management skills, however, can result in adverse consequences to an individual and others, especially when substance abuse or addiction is involved.

Excessive anger is caused by a wide variety of reasons, including fear, misplaced hatred of others, and untreated childhood trauma. Regardless of its origins, learning to deal with anger constructively is vital for the emotional health of those who suffer and their loved ones. This is also needed to reduce the addictive behaviors that have emerged or are exacerbated by inadequate anger management.

What Is Anger Management Therapy?

Anger management therapy (AMT) is an approach to helping individuals better control their anger by giving them a controlled platform for releasing their emotions. AMT is designed to achieve constructive, healthy responses, rather than those that are unhealthy and destructive. People in AMT are urged to examine the thoughts, feelings, and actions that trigger their anger. They are encouraged to become more mindful of their emotions at each level of intensity and learn how to use these findings to manage their angry responses better. 

In AMT, people learn to identify the emotional response caused by certain circumstances, as well as angry reactions that serve as defense mechanisms for other problems. These may include feelings of stress, anxiety, or other emotional issues. In doing this, AMT can significantly help people who have difficulties controlling their anger and those who love them.

Moreover, uncontrolled anger can result in extremely harmful psychological conditions and physical injury to oneself or others. Anger management therapy aims to help people reduce and manage their anger, thus leading to a reduction in stress and unpleasant thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. It can also decrease the risk of severe, chronic health problems, such as hypertension and heart disease.

Activities and techniques used in anger management therapy include the following:

  • Impulse control
  • Self-awareness and mindfulness
  • Meditation
  • Frustration management (e.g., writing down thoughts and emotions in an “anger diary”)
  • Breathing and relaxation techniques

AMT can be very beneficial, as it can be challenging for some to find and use healthier means of anger expression. Without professional help, individuals can experience increasingly intense aggression and may be more likely to engage in substance abuse.

Anger and Addiction

Anger Management Therapy and Addiction | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Anger is often closely linked to substance use disorders. People who are raised in homes with aggression and violence are much more likely to become violent and engage in substance abuse as adults. In fact, children who regularly witness violence between their parents or others often suffer from depression and anxiety. They may have low self-esteem, and exhibit anger themselves that manifests as outbursts, rebelliousness, destruction of property, and fighting or bullying.

As these children are still developing mentally, emotionally, and socially, exposure to domestic abuse or violence or parental addiction can be traumatic. As a result, their personalities may be adversely altered for the rest of their lives. These can also lead to early experimentation with substances, which is then more likely to lead to more severe and chronic addictive behaviors.

The Vicious Cycle of Anger and Addiction

Although anger can be expressed in a constructive way, a person who is struggling with substance abuse may be less able to cope with it effectively and healthily. For instance, an alcoholic may react with excessive anger to certain triggers, especially if they are intoxicated. Alcohol and drugs can adversely alter a person’s emotional responses, and that person may lash out at others either verbally or physically. Substance abuse can easily exacerbate angry responses, but sometimes, it can be a direct cause of them.

For these reasons, it’s easy for some individuals to fall into a destructive cycle of anger and addiction, and continue using substances in a misguided attempt to cope with anger. Ironically, substance abuse often exacerbates the emotional problems that a person is trying to relieve through this form of self-medication, and these issues drive the person to use more and more substances.

Addiction to Anger

Anger Management Therapy and Addiction | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Addiction isn’t just about substance use. People can become addicted to processes, such as gambling, sex, and shopping. Individuals can also become addicted to being angry in a way. When this occurs, it’s not unlike how some become thrill-seekers for the adrenaline rush. 

Endorphins are “feel-good” chemicals produced naturally by the central nervous system to cope with pain, stress, and anxiety. But endorphins are also believed to be responsible for heightened states of anger, rage or anxiety. If the presence of excessive endorphins is at all misinterpreted by the brain, a person could encounter an onslaught of “fight-or-flight” hormones. This may be true even in response to events that are not, in fact, particularly dangerous or threatening.

As such, certain individuals can become addicted to the increase in endorphins they experience when they feel angry. These endorphins, in effect, cause a “high” of sorts, albeit an unpleasant one. As with all highs, this will eventually subside, leaving the person feeling depressed, anxious, and generally unhappy.

As a result, this effect can drive a person to turn to drugs to help them avoid the “comedown” from anger, and can rapidly lead to addiction. Stimulants such as meth or cocaine can increase feelings of euphoria in an effort to replace the anger and the high associated with it. Eventually, the absence of these substances at any point in time will likely result in even more persistent feelings of anger.

Getting Help for Anger Management and Addiction

Treatment for anger problems can help patients manage and express their anger in healthier ways. In doing so, it also works to restore one’s quality of life and mental health. To ensure that a person in recovery is given the best chance for success, it is vital to address anger and other emotional issues in conjunction with addiction. Failure to treat anger issues will likely result in a relapse, and ongoing substance abuse will compromise a person’s ability to control their anger.

Midwood Addiction Treatment offers comprehensive substance abuse treatment programs that also focus on behavioral health and emotional wellness. Chronic anger is common among those with addiction, and those who cannot manage their anger are vulnerable to negative emotional states that lead to substance use.

Our programs are facilitated by a dual diagnosis treatment approach that is designed to address all aspects of a person’s mental and physical well-being. Other evidence-based services that we administer include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Behavioral therapy
  • Individual and family counseling
  • Group support
  • Mental health education and awareness
  • Art and music therapy
  • Health and wellness education
  • Medication-assisted treatment
  • Aftercare planning

Our caring and highly-skilled staff are dedicated to helping people overcome addiction and also develop healthier methods of coping with stress and triggers. Patients with anger issues will learn how to control and process their anger without engaging in extreme and harmful behavior. Moreover, we are equipped to help patients explore the factors that underpin their anger disorders and teach them more constructive ways to channel their emotions.

If you are struggling with anger management and addiction, this is not something you should be doing alone. Contact us today to discuss treatment options and let us help you get control of your life once and for all!

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What Is Alcohol-Induced Psychosis?

What Is Alcohol-Induced Psychosis? | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Psychosis is a mental state that is hallmarked by delusions and hallucinations, and may also include aggression, anxiety, and paranoia. Psychosis is not a mental health disorder in and of itself. It is the symptom of a psychotic disorder, such as schizophrenia, or it can be caused by other factors, such as substance use. 

As the name implies, alcohol-induced psychosis occurs as a result of excessive alcohol consumption. In most instances, the psychosis will end at the same time as alcohol intoxication. After prolonged use, however, psychosis can persist even after this time and become life-threatening. For this reason, anyone suffering from this condition receives professional medical treatment immediately.

Types of Alcohol-Induced Psychosis

Alcohol-induced psychosis includes delusions and hallucinations associated with heavy alcohol consumption that is not caused by some other mental health condition. Alcohol-induced psychosis occurs in the following three forms:

Acute Intoxication

Although relatively rare, acute intoxication is characterized by alcoholic psychosis that onsets after a person ingests an excessive amount of alcohol in a single episode. Alcohol psychosis symptoms usually subside once the body clears itself of alcohol. Because consuming alcohol in an amount large enough to cause psychosis may result in lethal alcohol poisoning, any person suffering from acute intoxication should seek medical attention as soon as possible. 

Chronic Alcoholic Hallucinosis

Alcoholic hallucinosis is another uncommon condition that may be triggered after years of severe alcohol abuse. Although other types of alcohol-induced psychosis often include tactile and visual hallucinations, alcoholic hallucinosis symptoms are mostly auditory. They typically occur during or shortly after episodes of excessive alcohol use. 

Alcoholic hallucinosis may also include delusions and mood disturbances. The periods of psychosis related to alcoholic hallucinosis may persist for hours, days, or weeks. They may even progress to a chronic form that resembles schizophrenia.

Alcohol Withdrawal Psychosis

Hallucinations are a potential side effect of acute alcohol withdrawal. These hallucinations can be the result of temporary psychosis, also known as alcohol withdrawal delirium (AWD) or delirium tremens. People who quit drinking after consuming a high amount of alcohol over a prolonged period are at heightened risk of experiencing AWD. Chronic alcoholism can alter the structure and function of the brain, thus triggering psychosis when alcohol has been eliminated from the body.

Symptoms of AWD may also include any of the following:

  • High sensitivity to light, sound or touch
  • Abrupt changes in mood
  • Accelerated heart and breathing rates
  • Delusions
  • Hallucinations
  • Formication (the feeling that insects are crawling on or under the skin)
  • Tremors

Delirium tremens is likely the most dangerous side effect of alcohol withdrawal. Symptoms can be life-threatening and require immediate medical intervention. As noted, any person experiencing alcohol withdrawal should seek the care of a medical detox program.

What Causes Alcohol-Induced Psychosis?

What Is Alcohol-Induced Psychosis? | Midwood Addiction Treatment

The precise cause of alcohol-induced psychosis is not known. Some research has suggested that alcohol-induced psychosis is primarily the result of alcohol’s impact on certain neurotransmitters in the brain, such as dopamine. Others have posited that the manner in which alcohol disrupts neural receptors is the main factor. 

Regardless of the cause, extended, excessive alcohol use can have profound, long-lasting effects on the brain and body. Alcohol-induced psychosis is believed to be a result of these effects.

Treatment Options for Alcohol-Induced Psychosis

Experiencing any alcohol-induced psychosis is frequently a sign of alcohol addiction. Therefore, it’s essential to stop alcohol use immediately if this occurs. After discontinuing alcohol consumption, psychotic symptoms tend to abate. 

Alcohol-induced psychosis is directly caused by excessive alcohol intake that can lead to dangerous withdrawal symptoms. Therefore, it’s highly recommended that someone in this state undergo detox and medical supervision to prevent complications from occurring.

Research has shown that people with an alcohol use disorder are more likely to succeed at recovery when detox is followed by intensive therapeutic care. Over time, through psychotherapy and counseling, they can gradually develop the skills they need to sustain long-term recovery.

It’s important to note that while psychosis can onset as the result of heavy alcohol use, it can also be a symptom of a co-occurring mental health disorder, such as bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. In these instances, patients need to be treated for both conditions simultaneously to prevent relapse and achieve the best outcome for long-term recovery.

Midwood Addiction Treatment offers medically-supervised outpatient detox in addition to partial hospitalization and outpatient programs. Our treatment plans are designed to be unique to each patient to meet the needs and goals of that individual. We are committed to ensuring that each patient receives the tools they need to achieve sobriety and prevent relapse indefinitely.

If you or someone you love is suffering from alcoholism, contact us today! Our treatment specialists are available to help those who need it most to achieve a full recovery and foster the long-lasting sobriety and wellness they deserve!

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What Are Co-Occurring Disorders?

Co-Occurring Disorders | Midwood Addiction Treatment

When a person has co-occurring disorders, they have been diagnosed with both a substance use disorder and another mental health condition. Co-occurring disorders, which are sometimes referred to as a dual diagnosis, are most appropriately treated using comprehensive, integrated treatment that focuses on both problems simultaneously.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), in 2014, among the 20.2 million U.S. adults who experienced a substance use disorder 50.5% or 10.2 million adults also had a co-occurring mental health disorder.

The brain is unquestionably a complex and relatively fragile organ. Therefore, it’s not surprising that drugs and alcohol can induce symptoms of mental illness or make them worse. These substances alter the way in which the brain operates—not in a positive way. People who use substances to experience a “high” do so because drugs and alcohol affect chemicals in the brain and the way that brain cells interact with each other.

In response to such changes, the brain becomes accustomed to the presence of alcohol and drugs, thereby increasing the likelihood that the person will develop a substance use disorder (SUD). SUDs are types of mental health conditions that are more commonly referred to as chemical dependence or addiction.

It’s possible to experience more than one mental health disorder. Substance use disorders often co-occur in conjunction with other psychiatric conditions. As noted, it is estimated that more than half of people with substance use disorders also struggle with mental illness. 

In some cases, the mental illness precedes substance abuse, while in other cases, substance abuse occurs first. In either situation, each disorder compounds the symptoms of the other and perpetuates a vicious cycle of mental and emotional upheaval.

Other common co-occurring conditions include personality, behavior, and psychotic disorders. Fortunately, when the appropriate comprehensive treatment is rendered, people can recover from addiction and reduce the symptoms of most co-occurring mental health disorders. Failure to address co-occurring conditions during addiction treatment significantly increases the likelihood of relapse.

What Are Mental Health Disorders?

The term “mental health disorder” is used by the American Psychiatric Association to mean “a syndrome characterized by clinically significant disturbance in an individual’s cognition, emotion regulation or behavior that reflects a dysfunction in the psychological, biological or developmental processes underlying mental functioning.”

A mental health disorder is also commonly referred to as “mental illness” or “mental health condition.” Terms such as “crazy,” “mad,” and “lunatic” have long since fallen out of favor among medical professionals, as they have derogatory connotations and further perpetuate the stigma surrounding mental health issues.

Mental Disorders that Co-Occur with Substance Abuse

Any mental health condition can occur along with a substance use disorder. Some mental illnesses (e.g., anxiety and depression) are relatively common, and, fortunately, the most severe (e.g., schizophrenia) are correspondingly rare. However, each mental disorder can range in severity from mild to severe. 

Mood Disorders

Mood disorders include all types of depression and bipolar disorders. They are mainly associated with chronic feelings of profound sadness or hopelessness that are more intense and last longer than normal feelings of melancholy. A person with major depressive disorder may remain perpetually sad for weeks or months at a time.

Those with bipolar disorders will also experience episodes of mania in which they will feel profoundly confident and energetic. Episodes of extreme highs and lows will cycle, sometimes rapidly, and the person and those around him or her may quickly grow weary of the constant emotional upheaval.

Anxiety Disorders

Co-Occurring Disorders | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Anxiety, stress, and fear are normal human emotions, but if these feelings are prolonged or get worse over time, they may be driven by an anxiety disorder. Many anxiety disorders intrude upon a person’s normal life and can make working and other important activities challenging. The feelings of terror experienced by people with an anxiety disorder are often well out of proportion to the perceived threat.

Examples of anxiety disorders include:

  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Separation anxiety
  • Social anxiety disorder

Psychotic Disorders

Psychotic disorders cause two severe symptoms: hallucinations and delusions. People who are experiencing psychosis are disconnected from reality and may have the potential to cause harm to themselves and others. Types of psychotic disorders include schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, and postpartum psychosis.

Eating Disorders

Like substance use disorders, eating disorders are largely misunderstood. People who suffer from eating disorders, such as anorexia or bulimia, do not actively choose unhealthy diets. They have a serious mental disorder that drives them to engage in harmful eating behaviors. These behaviors may include starvation, the abuse of laxatives, excessive exercise, and vomiting up food after binge eating.

Personality Disorders

Personality disorders are mental health conditions associated with harmful thoughts, feelings, and actions. They may be triggered by everyday stressors, and they can interrupt daily activities and strain relationships. Some personality disorders, such as psychopathy, are closely associated with chronic criminal activity.

Types of personality disorders include the following:

  • Antisocial
  • Avoidant
  • Borderline
  • Dependent
  • Histrionic
  • Narcissistic
  • Paranoid
  • Psychopathy
  • Schizoid
  • Schizotypal

Behavioral Disorders

Co-Occurring Disorders | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Behavioral disorders most often occur in children. Many otherwise healthy youth will, at times, exhibit some behavioral problems, such as disobedience and hyperactivity. However, behavioral disorders are hallmarked by chronic behavioral problems that last at least six months. If left unaddressed, some young people who grow up with these disorders may develop a personality disorder as an adult.

Why Substance Use and Other Mental Health Conditions Occur Together

Mental illness increases a person’s likelihood of using drugs or drinking alcohol as a misguided attempt to self-medicate. Substance abuse, in turn, also increases the risk of developing a mental health disorder. However, it’s not always easy to determine which condition caused the onset of the other. 

Researchers are still studying the brain in an effort to ascertain how it is that mental disorders develop, although, currently, they do have several theories. In addition to self-medication, there are many reasons why people with mental illness may be more likely to develop substance use disorders.

Risk factors for co-occurring disorders include the following:

  • Genetic predisposition
  • Environment—stress and trauma can produce mental health problems that make substance abuse more desirable
  • Brain systems involved with feelings of reward or stress may be affected by both drug use and mental health disorders
  • Being exposed to alcohol or drugs during childhood and adolescence affects brain development, making a person more vulnerable to addiction and other mental health conditions

Also, some otherwise healthy individuals develop mental health disorders after abusing substances. For instance, alcoholism is closely associated with depression, and chronic methamphetamine use can cause a great deal of anxiety and paranoia.

Drugs can also provoke an earlier onset of mental illness. For example, a person with a genetic predisposition for schizophrenia can develop symptoms of the disorder earlier in life if he or she uses marijuana.

Fortunately, abstaining from alcohol or drug use can relieve many mental health problems. However, some substances of abuse can produce long-lasting or irreversible damage, and treatment is necessary to help people deal with the ongoing symptoms of mental illness.

Get Help Now

Comprehensive addiction treatment includes therapy that addresses the underlying causes of substance abuse—detox alone is not enough. For a person to recover fully from addiction, every aspect of his or her mental and physical well-being must be addressed.

Midwood Addiction Treatment offers integrated treatment programs that are customized to meet each patient’s specific health needs. If you or someone you love is suffering from addiction and a co-occurring mental health disorder, contact us today and find out how we can help!

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Symptoms

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Symptoms | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Symptoms and Addiction – Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is an anxiety disorder characterized by recurring thoughts that induce irrational fears and anxiety. People with OCD repeated engage in compulsive behaviors and rituals such as counting items, excessive hand washing, or organizing.

Executing these behaviors offers temporary relief while they are being performed, but anxiety returns soon after they are suspended. OCD is a highly disruptive disorder that can overwhelm an individual’s life and prevent him or her from enjoying many of life’s potentially more rewarding activities.

An estimated 25% of those who seek treatment for OCD also meet the criteria for a substance use disorder. People who encounter OCD symptoms during childhood or adolescence are more likely to develop a substance abuse problem, often as a way to deal with intense anxiety and fear.

Facts About Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

OCD impacts about 2.2 million men and women in the United States. The disorder appears to have a genetic or hereditary component, as it occurs more frequently among families.

OCD is frequently the subject of humor or fascination in the media, but, in reality, those who live with OCD suffer from intense anxiety and internal torment over their irrational and uncontrollable thoughts. These intrusive thoughts can put a strain on relationships and interrupt a person’s academic progress, career, and social development. For these individuals, it may feel at times that intoxication is the only way to escape these tenacious, highly uncomfortable thoughts, albeit temporarily.

Individuals with OCD are usually aware that their fears are not logical, but knowing this does not help them control their need to perform compulsive behaviors to relieve their anxiety and those fears. Engaging in repetitive rituals such as excessive hand washing, checking locks or cleaning one’s personal environment can consume so much time that they begin to interfere with other daily activities.

The fears and rituals related to OCD vary from one individual to another, but some of the most common anxieties among adults or children with OCD are associated with the following:

  • A fear of being exposed to viruses or bacteria
  • An obsession with certain numbers that are considered either “good” or “bad”
  • A preoccupation with religious subjects
  • A fear of becoming ill or of losing a loved one to illness or injury
  • Intrusive images of sexual acts
  • Intrusive thoughts of harming oneself or others

Rituals that involve excessive grooming, cleaning, counting, and organizing are among the most common behaviors experienced by people with OCD. Some of these individuals fear that if they don’t carry out their obsessive rituals, they or someone they care about will be harmed. Regardless of whether these fears have any basis in reality, which they often do not, they require an enormous amount of mental and physical energy to be exerted by the person they are tormenting.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Symptoms | Midwood Addiction Treatment

OCD and Substance Abuse

OCD is one of several mental health conditions that is categorized as an anxiety disorder. Approximately 20% of the people who have an anxiety disorder also have some type of substance use disorder. Unfortunately, the use of drugs or alcohol often make symptoms worse and ultimately compounds the problems related to OCD.

OCD combined with a drug or alcohol addiction is a very unhealthy mix. Those who struggle with OCD experience high levels of fear and anxiety in their everyday lives. In order to deal with this anxiety, many resort to the use of intoxicating substances as a means of escape. And an individual who suffers from obsessive-compulsive disorder symptoms may be more likely than others to see their alcohol or drug abuse habits progress into chemical dependence or full-blown addiction.

Furthermore, addiction itself is a compulsive condition, hallmarked by the repetitive pursuit of a destructive substance or behavior despite the incurrence of adverse consequences. Many experts believe that some of the risk factors that contribute to mental health disorders such as OCD also increase the likelihood that a person will engage in substance abuse and potentially develop an addiction.

Obstacles and Opportunities in Treatment

Treating OCD as a co-existing disorder presents a lot of challenges, but it also offers invaluable life-changing opportunities. Entering a treatment program can be frightening because it exhibits unknown factors that characterize what some may consider an uncontrollable environment. Also, intrusive thoughts and time-consuming rituals can make it challenging to concentrate on individual therapy sessions or peer group meetings.

Fortunately, specialized treatment programs that address mental health issues concurrently are able to accommodate the needs of sufferers and their symptoms, making it easier for these individuals to complete rehabilitation requirements. Medication such as antidepressants and behavioral modification therapies are the most common tools used to treat anxiety disorders such as OCD.

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a psychotherapeutic approach that focuses on teaching the client how to identify and alter unhealthy behaviors. In the case of OCD, therapists may encourage the client to expose him or herself to the object or situation that induces fear without conducting any anxiety-relieving rituals. The ultimate objective is to reduce and eventually eliminate the irrational fear and anxiety associated with specific objects or circumstances.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder Symptoms | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Identifying the Warning Signs

Secrecy is often critical to those who suffer from OCD and for this reason, getting treatment for the disorder may be more difficult. People with OCD are masters at keeping their disorder concealed, and therefore, loved ones may be unable to identify the problem and assist in the process of getting help. Often, by the time the person suffering does seek out professional treatment, the illness is quite advanced, and the feelings and habits associated with it have become deeply ingrained.

When a person with OCD begins to abuse drugs or alcohol, they tend to keep their substance abuse as secret as possible, as well. Therefore, by the time loved ones realize the extent of either of these problems, both disorders may be in a very advanced state.

The following are warning signs that may indicate a person is engaging in substance abuse:

  • A loss of interest in activities and hobbies that were once considered enjoyable
  • Change in a social group or neglecting old friendships in favor of new ones which may appear to be less healthy
  • Social withdrawal and spending more time alone than usual
  • Responding to questions about suspected behavior in a way that is defensive and hostile
  • Excessive moodiness, agitation
  • Suddenly staying out late at night and sleeping in late the next day
  • Stealing money or prescription medications
  • Hiding alcohol or drug paraphernalia (e.g., needles, empty pill bottles, etc.) in drawers, closets, or backpacks

Treatment for Substance Abuse and OCD

When mental illness and a substance use disorder co-exist, this is referred to as a dual diagnosis. These patients must receive specialized care administered by health and addiction professionals who understand how these conditions overlap and interact with one another, and compound each other.

The longer these problems remain ignored, the more serious the situation is likely to become. Treating an addiction without addressing the psychological and emotional symptoms of OCD is rarely effective.

Midwood Addiction Treatment offers an integrated approach that includes treatment for substance abuse as well as co-existing mental health conditions such as OCD. We employ evidence-based services vital to the recovery process, including psychotherapy, counseling, and group support.

If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse and co-occurring mental illness, contact us as soon as possible to discuss treatment options. Discover how we help people free themselves from the grip of addiction and begin to lead happier, more fulfilling lives!

Body Dysmorphic Disorder

Body Dysmorphic Disorder | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) is a pathological disorder that is characterized by a fixation with one’s personal appearance, or at least one aspect of it. A person who experiences BDD focuses on real or imagined physical flaws or unusual features to the point of obsession and this preoccupation interferes with his or her ability to function normally.

As a result of obsessive thoughts and behaviors, people with BDD are at heightened risk of experiencing co-occurring mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, and substance use disorders.

Characteristics of Body Dysmorphic Disorder

Body dysmorphic disorder is classified as a somatoform disorder, which is “a group of psychological disorders in which a patient experiences physical symptoms that are inconsistent with or cannot be fully explained by any underlying general medical or neurologic condition.”

Body dysmorphic disorder shares features of anxiety disorder, including intrusive negative thoughts, avoidance of social situations, unfounded fear, and emotional distress. The obsessive nature of BDD is also similar to characteristics of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

BDD is not to be confused with mild self-consciousness or superficial vanity. People with BDD often have difficulty forming and maintaining relationships, holding down jobs, and interacting socially because of significant anxiety over their appearance. Many of the physical features that people obsess over, however, are distorted only in their minds and reflect an inner fear instead of reality.

Body Dysmorphic Disorder | Midwood Addiction Treatment

The diagnostic criteria for BDD include:

A fixation on a real or imagined defect in one’s appearance, and one which is usually not perceived by others. If the imperfection is real, the person’s obsession with it is blown out of proportion. People with BDD often target imagined defects on their skin, especially the face, but any aspect of the body can become the focus of an obsession.

Emotional distress and functional impairment. Specifically, the disorder must significantly impact relationships, career, school, social activities, or other important aspects of life.

Self-image or body-image distortion isn’t a symptom of another psychiatric condition, such as anorexia, bulimia, or obsessive-compulsive disorder. However, people with BDD do often have at least one other mental health issue, such as depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, generalized anxiety, social phobia, or substance use disorder.

Signs and Symptoms

The following are signs that may indicate that you or someone close to you has body dysmorphic disorder:

  • Spending an excessive amount of time looking in the mirror, picking at skin, obsessing over hair, or examining one’s face or body from multiple angles.
  • Displaying a compulsion to check one’s reflection in mirrors, windows, or other reflective surfaces.
  • Continually fixating on a defect in one’s appearance that others can’t see or would consider unimportant.
  • Going out of the way to conceal the flaw, such as applying heavy makeup, or wearing sunglasses or over-sized clothes.
  • Spending a large amount of money on makeup, creams, hair products or other items related to correct the flaw but cannot achieve satisfaction with results.
  • Undergoing plastic surgery or dermatological procedures in an attempt to fix imperfections.
  • Dieting or exercising excessively to minimize the presumably flawed areas of one’s body.
  • Experiencing problems at school or work due to tardiness or poor performance related to body-obsessive behaviors.
  • Isolating from friends, family, or social events due to relentless self-consciousness over an appearance problem.
  • Suffering from depression, anxiety, or panic over perceived physical flaws.
  • Erroneous beliefs of being ridiculed by others because of minor imperfections in one’s appearance.
  • Using drugs or alcohol to relieve anxiety and obsessive thinking related to BDD.

The impact of body dysmorphic disorder on one’s life can be nothing short of devastating. People who suffer from BDD may spend several hours every day thinking about the defects in their appearance. Their distorted beliefs can intensify to the point of social phobia, agoraphobia, or paranoia if they become so preoccupied that they can no longer interact socially.

Obsessive behaviors can force people with this condition to accept jobs below their abilities because they can’t concentrate on sufficiently challenging work, of which they are capable. As a result, they may also experience financial distress, instability, and unemployment.

BDD and Substance Use Disorders

Body Dysmorphic Disorder | Midwood Addiction Treatment

The isolation, depression, stress, and humiliation associated with body dysmorphic disorder makes affected persons more vulnerable to substance abuse. For example, a study in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry followed 176 subjects who met the criteria for BDD. Of this group, they found the following:

  • Nearly one-half (49%) had suffered from a substance abuse problem, and more than one-third (36%) had experienced chemical dependence at some point during their lifetime.
  • More than 9% were currently abusing drugs or alcohol, and nearly 10%
    were currently dependent on drugs or alcohol.
  • Among the majority of subjects, the symptoms of BDD started at least one year before the onset of substance abuse.
  • Subjects who experienced co-occurring substance abuse and BDD were more likely to suffer from delusional symptoms.

Alcohol and marijuana are two of the most commonly abused substances among people who suffer from BDD. Both substances are central nervous system (CNS) depressants, which can relieve the anxiety related to the disorder. People who diet or excessively exercise in connection with the disorder may also abuse stimulants such as amphetamines, meth, or cocaine to suppress their appetite and speed up metabolism.

In the beginning, drugs and alcohol may seem to help calm obsessive thoughts, but substance abuse will eventually exacerbate the symptoms of BDD. Moreover, alcohol and drug dependence increase the functional impairments that make BDD so challenging in the first place.

Treatment for BDD and Substance Use Disorders

Like substance abuse, body dysmorphic disorder is linked to denial and secrecy. People with both conditions tend to hide them from family, friends, employers, and others. Also, the delusional symptoms of BDD are stubborn, and
it may take months or even years of intensive therapy to overcome them.

Therapeutic modalities that have been proven effective for the treatment of BDD and substance abuse include the following:

Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT)

Body Dysmorphic Disorder | Midwood Addiction Treatment

Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT) has been employed successfully in the treatment of mood, anxiety, and eating disorders, as well as alcohol and drug dependence. This therapeutic approach is based on the identification and modification of negative thought patterns so that the patient can experience a happier and more fulfilling life.

With time and patience, CBT can result in positive outcomes for people who experience the intrusive thoughts that are characteristic of body dysmorphic disorder. CBT is also used to teach coping skills and prevent relapse in patients who suffer from chemical dependence.

Antidepressant Therapy

SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) are antidepressants prescribed to mitigate the symptoms of a number of serious psychiatric conditions, including depression, social anxiety disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder, among others. These medications, which help replenish a healthy balance of serotonin, have also been associated with positive outcomes in the treatment of BDD.

Research that appeared in the Archives of General Psychiatry revealed that fluoxetine, or Prozac, a frequently prescribed SSRI, improved symptoms in more than half (53%) of patients with BDD. A similar study that was published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry suggested that citalopram (Celexa) improved social functioning and quality of life in 40% of studied subjects with BDD.

Treatment for Co-occurring Disorders

When a person experiences BDD in addition to a substance use disorder, both conditions must be treated simultaneously to facilitate a complete recovery. For this reason, integrated addiction rehab programs for co-occurring disorders employ clinicians and professionals who are trained in both addiction treatment and mental health care.

Behavioral therapy, medication management, group counseling, and family therapy are also delivered at the same facility, allowing for clear communication and collaboration among members of the treatment team. This collaborative, supportive environment provides a safe, secure setting for recovery to take place.

Our center provides specialized, customized care for people suffering from both chemical dependence and a substance use disorder. Contact us as soon as possible to learn more about our recovery services, and start the healing process today.

Learn More About Our Treatment Programs
We provide a comprehensive, holistic method to treatment, encompassing a wide array of different evidence-based practices in combination. All of Midwood Addiction Treatment’s primary therapists are either licensed or master’s level clinicians.

Our programs are structured with various components of evidence-based treatment practices and holistic approaches to treatment that provide our patients with the knowledge and tools they need to be successful in their recovery.

If you or your loved one is suffering from substance abuse, please seek help as soon as possible.

Call us now to learn about our treatment options.

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