People who are addicted to drugs or alcohol sometimes also have mental health issues. Likewise, those with mental illnesses may develop an addiction. Treating both conditions is critical for a successful recovery and a healthier life. Thought disorder treatment in early recovery can help the individual better manage their symptoms and learn better coping skills.
Substance use disorders and mental health issues can occur together. Over a fourth of the adults living with serious mental health problems in the US also have a substance use problem. When someone is addicted to illegal drugs, those substances can cause the individual to experience symptoms of a mental health problem. In turn, if an individual has a mental health issue, they may misuse substances such as drugs or alcohol in an attempt to cope with their symptoms.
There are some common underlying causes for these co-occurring disorders, including genetic vulnerabilities, changes in the brains, and early exposure to trauma or stress. Substance use disorders occur more frequently with mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, personality disorders, and schizophrenia.
An individual’s thoughts are a complex phenomenon. The thought process is a way to construct an understanding of the self, of the world, and of reality as a whole. Thoughts are connected to the capacity for language and are critical for communication with others. When thoughts are transmitted as speech, they play a critical role in how individuals come to understand each other as well as the extent of their experiences.
When the thought system breaks down, the resulting difficulties are linked with issues in psychological and social well-being. The very ability to function may be seriously impaired. When the thought disorder is at its extreme, the disturbance forms the core of psychotic experiences.
Thought disorder is one of the primary symptoms of schizophrenia, although it may also be present in mental health issues such as depression and mania. The disorder is essentially a disorganized way of thinking that then leads to abnormal ways of communicating through speech or written language.
Types and Causes
Many people will exhibit the symptoms of thought disorder occasionally, particularly if they are tired or stressed. Thought disorder as a mental health concern can be difficult to diagnose and treat. There are over 20 types of the disorder and each type has unique symptoms. In all types, though, a disruption in the interconnectivity of ideas will be present. A diagnosis will usually emerge as a result of the condition negatively affecting an individual’s ability to communicate in a serious and sustained way.
The disorder’s cause is also difficult to pinpoint. It is a common symptom of schizophrenia, as well as several other mental health conditions, but the cause of schizophrenia is also not known. The source may be genetic, environmental, or biological, or a combination of all these factors. Some researchers believe that thought disorder may be caused by changes in the parts of the brain related to language, while others believe it could be caused by issues in more general areas of the brain.
Thought Disorder Treatment
The most effective treatment for a mental health concern in early recovery from substance use will target the underlying medical condition. This may require medication and will involve psychotherapy, which is designed to help the individual develop positive ways to manage their symptoms. For individuals diagnosed with schizophrenia, therapy can also guide them through the process of replacing their thoughts with more realistic ones.
While an addiction and mental health professional can determine the best treatment based on the individual’s needs, research has found that there are behavioral therapies that have shown promise for treating people with co-occurring disorders.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a type of talk therapy that helps individuals learn how to cope with the difficult situations they face as they deal with their mental health issues and their substance use. The individual will be taught, through this treatment option, to challenge their irrational thoughts and to change their behaviors.
Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) uses mindfulness and the concepts of acceptance in addition to being aware of and attentive to the individual’s own situation and emotional state. By participating in this treatment, the individual will learn skills that can help them control intense emotions and improve their relationships. They will also develop skills that can help reduce their self-destructive behaviors including substance use, which is critical in early recovery from addiction.
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