How to Handle the Co-Occurring Problem of Mental Health Disorders and Substance Abuse Problem

The awareness and acceptance of mental health disorders has been steadily increasing in recent years. Strangely, there is also a dramatic increase in the substance abuse and drug addictions. 

It is interesting that researchers find a close relationship between substance abuse (or use of drugs) and mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety. They also recognize that while some substance abuse can cause prolonged psychotic reactions, one does not directly cause the other.

This complex relation makes it hard to diagnose a substance abuse problem and a co-occurring mental health disorder. It really requires time to sort out which aspect of the symptoms seen in a patient is due to mental disorder and which could be as a result of what might be a drug or alcohol problem. The signs and symptoms also vary depending upon both the mental health problem and the type of drug being abused.

According to experts, people with mental problems might also have addiction problems is because the use of alcohol and drugs see to help some of them think they are more accepted and feel like there is no mental health issue. For others, the drugs or alcohol is a way to control anxiety, depression, sleep problems, stress and the negative effects of medication.

To treat the co-occurring disorders the best approach is an integrated one that simultaneously address both the mental health and substance abuse problems. Whichever problem manifested first, the sustainable recovery depends on treating both the issues by the same team of professionals. 

The next question is what is involved in the treatment? It varies, depending on the specific problem. For example:

Treatment for mental health issues could involve individual or group counseling, medication, lifestyle changes, and support groups.

On the other hand, treatment for drug and alcohol abuse could involve managing of withdrawal symptoms, detoxification, behavioral therapy, and support groups to monitor and maintain the recovery.

Finding a suitable treatment facility for the co-occurring conditions:

There are a number of options for treatment programs you can consider. It will help to ask some important questions and find out more about each of the options before making this important decision. Some points to consider are: 

Check if the treatment centre has the appropriate licenses and accreditations

Check if the methods used for treatment are based on research

Ask what options are available for continued care to avoid or reduce the chances of relapse. 

Make sure the facility or rehab centre has the experience dealing with the specific mental health issues that need attentions. 

Check if the program teaches healthy coping skills and strategies to minimize substance abuse, strengthen relationships, and cope with stressors and challenges of life.

Further information can be found at: 

4 Inspirational Prayers For Relief From Stress and Worry

Millions of people struggle with stress and worry at different stages of their life, and in some this could lead to mental health issues such as chronic anxiety and depression. In addition, drug and alcohol abuse is said to often stems from ill-advised attempts to manage stress. 

Stress is an inevitable part of life, so it’s important to have healthy coping skills so you can deal with stress without turning to alcohol or drugs. Prayer is one way to reduce stress and find peace knowing that God is ready to stretch out His mighty hand towards us to support us and lead us with His wisdom.

Praying is also a powerful way to bring focus to your thoughts by seeking help from God who is in control of each and every situation.

Praying is easy, and it is as simple as talking to a friend or family member expressing your hopes and fears. 

If you are not already praying in this way, it would be a great step to take and make that a regular habit. Sometimes when we are at a loss for words, it is useful to have some prompts to help us pray. Here are 4 short prayer examples focusing on relief from stress and worry as a starting point which can be built on and adapted in your own words.

Prayer with Thanksgiving

Dear God in Heaven, I enter Your gates with a heart of thanksgiving even though my mind is filled with burden and nervousness. Please replace my anxious thoughts with a clear mind. You are my hope, and I trust Your mighty power. Thank you. Amen. 

Prayer for Mercy

Heavenly Father, I am feeling hurt and filled with stress due the circumstances around me. I come to your Holy presence seeking your mercy and grace, Oh Lord. May all my stress melt away in the first of Your presence. Help me not to worry knowing that my life is under Your control. Amen.

Prayers for God’s Cover

Dear Lord, my heart cries out to You as I am burdened with stress and worry. It seems that everything around me is falling apart. I have nowhere to go. Kindly cover me under the protection of Your wings and release all my fears. I will then feel safely hidden in Your care. I surrender my life and my circumstances to You. Thank You for answering my plea. Amen. 

Prayer for Healing

Jesus my Lord, I come to Your presence for help to ease the constant stress and worry pulling me down and making me sick and tired. Stretch out Your hand and heal me from head to toe. Change my stressful thoughts into joy of gratitude to you for restoring my health.  In Jesus mighty and powerful name I pray. Amen.

Yes, Addiction Is A Disease.

When we think of the word “disease” a few things probably come to mind. The first few that pop into your mind might be something like: Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, liver disease, diabetes, or other similar diseases. However, addiction is probably not included in that group of the first ones that come to mind.

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Why not? Well, because most people don’t quite think of addiction as a disease. Instead, they view it more of as a “problem” or an “illness”. And while these descriptions can be fitting, it is important that we understand the severity and reality of it. Addiction is a disease, as defined by most medical associations.

In fact, addiction is a complex disease. Addiction effects the brain and the body and boasts serious health and social consequences. When addiction takes hold of your body, the areas of your brain responsible for reward, motivation, learning, judgment and memory are all negatively effected. As a result, other body systems and neighbors, families, relationships, schools, and workplaces are also negatively effected.

The Disease Model

Diabetes, cancer, and heart disease are all caused by a combination of behavioral, environmental and biological factors. And addiction is no different – all of these same factors increase an individual’s likelihood of developing an addiction.

If untreated, an addiction can result in several physical and mental health disorders that will likely require medical attention. And if continued to be left untreated, addiction can become increasingly severe, disabling and even life threatening.

Addiction and the Brain

Over time, addiction actually changes your brain.

You feel pleasure when basic necessities are met – such as hunger, thirst, and sex. To feel this pleasure, your brain releases dopamine which is a hormone associated with pleasure or reward. And when you develop an addiction, this is also released when you drink alcohol.

This is yet another aspect of addiction that makes it a disease and also makes it so crippling. Biological changes are actually taking place.

Are you stuck with it?

Addiction can be crippling and make you feel like there is no way out…

But the good news is that there are options for help. You can overcome your addiction. However, just like you would reach out for cancer treatment, you have to be willing to reach out for addiction treatment.

There are several avenues of treatment and facilities open that would gladly take you in and provide you with every opportunity to get clean.

Recovery: Filling Your Empty Self

Have you ever just had a feeling of emptiness? Maybe it was when you were new to college and your major was still undecided… You might have felt empty because you just weren’t sure what you wanted to do with your life.

Or maybe it was just during a down time in your life, maybe you were struggling with some depression and anxiety and just found yourself feeling empty. Like there was nothing inside of you.

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Or it could have even been before you found the Lord. You might have just felt like there was an emptiness in your heart that you just could not feel.

It is likely that you have felt empty at some point in your life. Especially when a major life change happens, you might find yourself feeling empty without whatever it was that you once had. And that is okay. But for someone who has struggled with addiction and is now in recovery, they can find themselves feeling this way and it might just be unbearable.

Things like feeling empty can cause a former addict to relapse.

While it might not be possible to avoid that empty feeling once you give up your addiction, seeing as how it has likely been part of your life for a while, there are ways to help fill yourself back up. And these are healthier ways:

Start by talking about your feelings.

This can be to a therapist, to a close friend or family member, or even just journaling your feelings. One of the best ways to start overcoming those sad, lonely feelings is to try and better understand them.

This can also lead you to someone who might have been in this same position and can share with you how they too filled their empty void.

Identify the void.

Obviously, the void was left by your addiction. But what exactly did it leave a void for? Was it something you thought helped with your anxiety? Did it excite you? Did it cure your boredom? Did it offer you more friends? Or maybe just more confidence?

To be able to adequately fill the void of drugs and/or alcohol, you first need to identify what it was that the substance was providing you that you are now missing.

Find a healthy replacement.

While this can be challenging at first, once you begin to realize that your new, healthier activity likely offers the same benefits but also more because it doesn’t bring about all the negative consequences of addiction, you will want to keep doing it.

For example, you might find that exercise gives you that boost of energy you were looking for. Or that meditation gives you that sense of peace you so desperately crave.

It all takes effort, but you can do it.

How Do I Discuss My Alcohol Addiction With My Spouse?

Oftentimes, people wonder how you could hide something from your spouse. We see this a lot in porn addiction – one spouse is addicted to watching porn and their spouse may never even know. When it comes out, the spouse might even feel saddened by the fact that they didn’t just talk to them. And furthermore, they might even question why they didn’t just talk to them and ask for help. But, it isn’t always that easy.

Despite the amount of love you have for a person and how comfortable you are with them, there can still be that one thing – or a few things – you really just have a hard time talking to them about. It might be because you are embarrassed, or you don’t want to disappoint them, or you just aren’t sure how to talk to them about it.

And the cold, hard truth is that those who struggle with alcohol addiction are no different and often find themselves in this same situation. One spouse might suffer from an alcohol addiction that they have still been able to keep a secret up to this point. However, there can be some beauty in sharing this with your spouse.

Why share it with them?

First of all, you get the relief of knowing you are no longer hiding it. No more hoping they don’t check your credit card and see how many times you’ve been to the liquor store. No more hoping they don’t smell it on your breath when you come home at night.

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Second, they might be able to really offer some help. Even if they don’t know how to help you overcome the addiction, they can help you find the resources you need. Additionally, they can act as your support system. And you will need their support the most.

But, despite the positive, that still might not make talking to them any easier. So, here are a few tips for how to talk to them about it:

Tips for Talking to Your Spouse About Addiction

  1. Start by thinking about what you want to say.

    Of course, you don’t want to script it out and you want a natural conversation to take place, but it can be beneficial to consider all the main points you want to hit.

  2. Set aside time.

    The last thing you want to do is spring such a serious conversation on them without any planning. Ask if you two can go grab coffee or even just snag some alone time to talk outside on the porch. Find time to get in a comfortable, quiet setting.

  3. Prepare for the worst.

    You would like to think your spouse won’t freak out or react strongly at all. But in all reality, they likely will. Mentally prepare yourself that they might get sad and cry, they might be angry, and/or they might be confused.

Do you have any other tips? Share them with us and others in the comments.

The Most Commonly Abused Drugs On College Campuses

When people think of drug and alcohol use, they often attribute this to a younger generation. More specifically, they often think of young adolescents who are typically in college.

Why is that?

Well, this can be for several reasons. But the two more probable reasons are that young adults at this age are surrounded by a growing amount of peer pressure and they are more likely than ever to experiment with stuff – often because they feel invincible. While drugs and alcohol can affect anyone, at any age, it is important to take a special look at the age group that they do seem to affect the most.

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The matter of the fact is that college campuses are one of the most common places where drugs are found, sold, and abused. In fact, 49% of full-time college students drink and/or abuse drugs – both illegal and prescription.

If you have a child, you should be aware of these most commonly abused drugs on college campuses so that you can not only talk to them about them but also so you can be aware of the warning signs that they might be using them.

Here are a few of the drugs that are most commonly abused on college campuses:

  1. Alcohol

    Yes, alcohol is a drug and it does not come as much of a surprise that it is the number one abused drug on college campuses. It is so widely accepted to consume it, and it is often consumed in excess at parties. While the majority of college students are not legally old enough to drink, that doesn’t stop them from binge drinking with their friends on a Friday night.

  2. Marijuana

    I doubt this one surprises you much either. Marijuana has become almost as popular as alcohol, despite the fact that marijuana is still illegal in many states. It is a drug that is not often considered to be as hardcore as several other drugs and it is typically fairly easy to get ahold of.

    The sense of relaxation it provides makes it enticing to young adults. And it is commonly found being used with alcohol at a party scene. One statistic says that nearly half of all college students have tried marijuana at least once.

  3. Prescription pills: Adderall and Ritalin

    You are probably familiar with these prescription pills as they are often used for children with ADHD. However, many college students also use them as a way to get their grades up by allowing them to focus harder and study longer.

While there are several more common drugs to watch out for, these are the ones your student is most likely to encounter.

5 Dangerous Drugs You’ve Probably Never Heard Of

Marijuana, alcohol, Adderall, Heroin, Ecstasy – the list just seems to go on and on and you could probably still name a few more than what we’ve listed here. There are several drugs on the market, and unfortunately so many are widely abused that we know their names without even giving it much thought.


However, what might be even sadder is the fact that despite knowing several drugs, there are still more that you have probably never even heard of. Drugs are an epidemic that continues to sweep our society and it is important that we stay informed on the various drugs that pose a threat to our families – children, spouses, siblings, and even our parents. All it takes is one time for something to go completely wrong.

Keep reading to find out the names of a few of these drugs that are hiding in various corners of our planet and are creating new addicts each and every day:

  1. Khat 

    Also commonly known as Arabian Tea, Quaad, or Qat, this drug is commonly found throughout the Middle East. And in some areas, it is even as popular as your morning cup of coffee. While some use it for that morning boost of energy, others believe it can give the user a dangerous sense of invincibility.

  2. Krokodil 

    Also referred to as the “Poor Man’s Heroin” because of its low cost, it still provides very similar effects as traditional heroin. It actually gets its name from crocodiles because the injection sites of users resembles the leathery, ripped up skin seen on a crocodile. The chemicals found in Krokodil literally rot your skin from the inside out. This is one of the most disfiguring drugs in the world, and possibly even one of the deadliest.

  3. Benzo Fury 

    Benzo fury is a drug that was more recently introduced and is actually sold legally due to the fact that the label says, “not for human consumption.” But don’t be fooled by the fact that it is legally sold, benzo fury is far from safe.

    This drug acts as a hallucinogen and stimulant, and the effects of it can last up to 14 hours. People who have used this drugs have also been reported being hospitalized for overdosing and for self-harm.

Is a few minutes of the high really worth it? No.

Let us hear from you: have you heard of any of these? Tell us what you know in the comments.