Mental Health Disorders

Finding Treatment at White House

The National Institute of Mental Health reported that one in five American adults is diagnosed with a mental health disorder each year. Approximately 20.6% of adults in the U.S. had a mental health disorder in 2019. Survey results provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicated that in 2020 that number nearly doubled to just over 40% due to stress related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

What Are Mental Health Disorders?

Mental health disorders fit into two categories: any mental illness (AMI) and serious mental illness (SMI). AMI covers the broadest range of conditions from mild mental illness to severe. SMI is focused more on those who have verifiable disabilities caused by their mental health diagnosis. 

Mental health disorders exist along a spectrum. Often the most severe end of the spectrum is linked to alcohol and drug addiction. The federal classification for SMI requires the following criteria:

  • The individual must be at least 18 years or older.
  • Within 12 months, they must have been diagnosed with a recognized mental, emotional, or behavioral disorder.
  • The diagnosed disorder must create significant impairment to their ability to function in daily life.


Most Common Dual Diagnosis

Mental health disorders can affect your behavior, thinking, and emotions in multiple ways. Rather than explain every mental health disorder on this page, we will focus on the mental health disorders most closely linked to substance use disorders (SUD). The National Institute on Drug Abuse lists the following as commonly encountered alongside SUD: 

  • Depression
  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder
  • Panic Disorder
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
  • Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Antisocial Personality Disorder (APD)
  • Schizophrenia


The Link Between Substance Use Disorders and Mental Health 

The relationship between SUD and mental health disorders is complicated due to the overlapping risk factors associated with them. Addiction can lead to mental health disorders, while mental illness is a high-risk factor for developing SUD. Unhealthy coping skills, insufficient life skills, a harmful environment, and lack of stability are known contributors to both conditions. 

Additionally, SUD and mental illness each have a genetic component. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “40–60 percent of an individual’s vulnerability to substance use disorders is attributable to genetics.” Genetics can also increase the risk of being diagnosed with certain mental health disorders. 

More research still needs to be done on the link between SUD and mental health; however, plenty of evidence suggests that they influence each other to a significant degree. You can lower the risks associated with developing mental illness by getting help treating your SUD. The therapies and treatments for SUD can protect against the development of AMI and SMI.

Symptoms of Mental Health Disorders

There are many possible symptoms due to the sheer number of mental health disorders associated with SUD. However, below are some areas that might indicate whether someone is experiencing a mental illness: 

  • Behavioral Changes: Often unusual, problematic, or oddly aggressive behavioral patterns can emerge without a known cause. Individuals might become defensive when questioned about these changes and avoid providing answers either because they are uncomfortable or do not understand why it is happening. 
  • Emotional Instability: Disorders that affect mental health usually lead to inconsistent, strange, and distorted moods that exist along a spectrum and can lead to angry outbursts, extreme sadness, and mood swings.  
  • Cognition: Several common indicators of mental health disorders are difficulty focusing, confusion, and memory issues.
  • Social Interactions: Changes to social interactions, which can vary depending on the disorder, may include avoiding friends, risk-taking behaviors like hanging out with dangerous people, or isolating oneself from social interactions. 


Treatments for Mental Health Disorders

Medication and psychotherapy are the two primary treatments used for mental health disorders and SUD. When you are going through rehabilitation, prescription medications might counter developing or existing mental health issues like anxiety and depression, which are commonly experienced during recovery. Some of the medications that treat mental health disorders include the following:

  • Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs): citalopram (Celexa), escitalopram oxalate (Lexapro), fluoxetine (Prozac), paroxetine HCI (Paxil), fluvoxamine (Luvox), and sertraline (Zoloft)
  • Selective Serotonin and Norepinephrine Inhibitors (SNRIs): desvenlafaxine (Khedezla), desvenlafaxine succinate (Pristiq), levomilnacipran (Fetzima), duloxetine (Cymbalta), and venlafaxine (Effexor)
  • Novel Serotonergic Drugs: vortioxetine (Trentellix, Brintellix) and vilazodone (Viibryd)
  • Older Tricyclic Antidepressants: imipramine (Tofranil), amitriptyline (Elavil), nortriptyline (Pamelor), and doxepin (Sinequan)
  • Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs): isocarboxazid (Marplan), phenelzine (Nardil), selegiline (EMSAM), and tranylcypromine (Parnate)
  • Additional Medications: L-methylfolate (Deplin), mirtazapine (Remeron), and bupropion (Wellbutrin)

Usually, doctors and therapists use prescription medications alongside psychotherapy. The effects often complement one another, enhancing the benefits. Therapies known to help reduce the impact of AMI, SMI, and SUD are listed below: 

  • Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) 
  • Behavioral Therapy
  • Motivational Interviewing (MI)
  • Contingency Management (CM)
  • Therapy modeled after 12-Step programs 

Holistic treatment methods, such as art therapy and other meaningful activities, can also enhance your treatment program during recovery.

We are here for you

Mental health disorders exist along a spectrum, meaning that some people may not even know that they are experiencing one. When you get treatment for substance use disorder (SUD), treating SUD can bring to light other mental health issues you may not have realized existed, and plenty of therapies can treat both simultaneously. Your mental wellbeing is essential, and success in recovery is difficult if you do not address any mental health disorders that might be inhibiting your ability to function. White House Recovery and Detox has therapy and treatment options that can help you heal mentally and physically.