Dissociative Disorders and Addiction

Dissociative Disorders and AddictionDissociation is an involuntary and unhealthy way of escaping reality, but many people engage in this behavior to a fault. Some people can react to traumatic events in healthy ways, but other people develop mental disorders that distance them from pain. Dissociative disorders are ways the mind can deal with overwhelming stimuli—someone with a dissociative disorder will react to trauma by subconsciously altering his consciousness to distance himself from the event. He may develop amnesia, disorientation, detachment or multiple personalities, which can affect his memories of the traumatic event along with his entire life. This issue can lead to drug abuse, so seek professional help to address both problems at the same time.

How Dissociative Disorders Lead to Drug Abuse

People with dissociative disorders may spend years attempting to remember the details of trauma in order to deal with it in a healthy way, but they may have no luck. For instance, when someone has multiple personalities, she cannot control the shifts between them. Third parties may be unaware that a switch has occurred, so they only witness what seems like gaps in memory.

Feelings of powerlessness, guilt and anxiety plague people with dissociative disorder, and some treatment methods seem counterproductive. For instance, antipsychotic medications can relieve some problematic symptoms, but they often suppress emotions and personality. Because they seem to lack solutions, people with dissociative disorders may abuse drugs to escape the pain they cannot understand. Unfortunately, drug abuse will cause more mental health problems than it solves, which means it will distance people with dissociative disorder even further from recovery.

People with dissociative disorder may have one personality that acts recklessly, which may encourage drug abuse, even though another personality would disapprove of such acts. The only way to treat this kind of drug abuse is to deal with the disorder and addiction simultaneously. Indeed, when addiction and dissociative disorders co-occur, it is impossible to treat one issue fully without treating the other.

Treatment for Dissociative Disorders and Addiction

Dissociative disorders are difficult to treat, but people with these problems can attend psychotherapy to improve their conditions and to build healthy coping mechanisms. Co-occurring dissociative disorders and addictions should be treated as diseases that feed one another: both have deep-rooted psychological factors that are interrelated, so both problems need treatment if the patient is going to recover. Undergoing a comprehensive treatment program at a Dual Diagnosis treatment center can help people overcome both dissociative disorder and addiction at the same time.

Help for Co-Occurring Disorders and Drug Abuse

If you or a loved one struggles with addiction and a dissociative disorder, then call our toll-free helpline to discuss professional treatment options. Our admissions coordinators are available 24 hours a day to help you find the treatment center that will address both disorders at the same time. This gives you a strong chance at lifelong recovery, so call today to find instant support.

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