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)
Research from NIAAA also suggests that alcoholism can stem from genes. While the specific “alcoholism gene” hasn’t yet been identified, there are known genes that can boost the power of alcohol and reduce the impact of a hangover. People with these gene combinations may get a bigger high from drinking, and they may not feel ill or sick after a long day of drinking. Their bodies just seem primed for alcohol abuse, and that can make them more likely to develop alcoholism.
Behavioral Health of the Palm Beaches (BHPB) is a comprehensive treatment center that provides mental health and trauma programs in addition to their reputable addiction program. BHPB was founded in 1997 by Dr. Donald Mullaney, a recovering addict. BHPB has some of the most talented treatment professionals in the nation who help outline specialized treatment plans for each patient. Treatment lasts a minimum of 30 days, but long-term care lasting up to 12 months is available.
Drug addiction often causes actual physical changes in the brain. Specifically, addiction alters the way the brain experiences pleasure, modifying certain nerve cells (neurons). Neurons communicate with each other and create moods and other sensations using chemicals called neurotransmitters, and drug addiction can change the way neurotransmitters work in the brain.

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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