Comorbid mental illness and drug addiction can be especially difficult for adolescents and require specialized treatments to combat. Teens are still developing physically, mentally and socially, so great care must be taken to put them on the right path toward sobriety and mental health. Doctors have a variety of tailored treatments at their disposal that serve the unique needs of adolescents with comorbid conditions. A few of the most effective therapies include the following:
In order to provide effective treatment to patients, doctors must first properly diagnose the disorders they are treating properly. Often times, patients have two or more conditions rather than just one. In fact, approximately 80 percent of Medicare spending goes to treat patients with four or more chronic conditions (“Defining Comorbidity: Implications for Understanding Health and Health Services”). When patients have a substance abuse problem and a mental illness, a number of factors can complicate the correct diagnosis of each disorder. Due to the frequency of comorbid conditions, doctors are searching for new ways to better identify these related conditions.
Mental illness and substance abuse disorders are often found in the same individual and there has been a great deal of investigation into discovering why this is true. Rather than a single “smoking gun,” scientists believe that there might be many possible causes for the correlation between substance abuse and mental illness. For some people, one condition might cause the other, while other people might be more vulnerable to both conditions right from the start.
While most people understand the dangers of underage drinking, less attention is given to the risks of drinking during middle age. Heavy alcohol consumption can have a wide range of negative health effects, which only accumulate and worsen over time. Alcohol’s effects on the brain are particularly severe. As people age, it’s important to understand the ramifications that heavy drinking can have on their mental health.
The National Institute of Health defines comorbidity as two health conditions occurring in the same person at the same time, or sequentially. These conditions can be diseases, disorders, illnesses or other health problems. When one talks about addiction, however, comorbidity refers specifically to the combination of addiction and mental illness in the same patient. These two conditions have been shown to be closely related, to the point where special research and attention has been devoted to pinpointing how it develops and how to best treat it.