How Your Medical History Might Be Affecting Your Addiction

How Your Medical History Might Be Affecting Your AddictionCalifornia residents with a family history of mental illness may be predisposed to addictive behaviors. Mental illness and drug addiction are both diseases of the brain. Both involve the same neural pathways, chemicals and molecules in the brain, and so tend to interact with each other. Knowing and understanding your family’s medical history can help doctors and therapists diagnose your condition and treat the diseases at the same time. Co-occurring disorders need a specific and unique treatment plan in order to free a person from addiction.

How Mental Illness Affects the Brain

Mental illness is a disease of the brain. Within the brain there are neural pathways that determine a person’s responses to pain, pleasure and reward. A person with depression has an underactive reward pathway and receives little pleasure from things that others would find pleasurable. If a California resident feels depressed, she may try drugs to stimulate her reward pathways to feel normal. If depression is the problem, it will take more and more of a drug to achieve the same amount of pleasure, and an addiction can result. Without the proper diagnosis for depression, a California addict doesn’t really understand what is causing the problem. Understanding your family medical history can help determine your or a California loved one’s predisposition to drug abuse or mental illness.

Mental Illness and Drug Interaction

Because the brain pathways associated with mental illness are interrelated with the brain’s response to drugs, a person vulnerable to one type of brain disease may also be vulnerable to others. That’s why people with a family history of mental illness are more susceptible to drug addiction. Dopamine levels in the brain are affected by cocaine as well as schizophrenia. Serotonin levels are directly linked to both mood disorders and alcoholism. People addicted to methamphetamines have hallucinations that can also be a characteristic of certain mood disorders. Stimulants like cocaine can cause anxiety attacks, sleep disorders and other symptoms associated with mental illness. Because drug addiction and mental disorders are so closely related, it’s difficult for doctors to determine which came first. In many cases, a Californian with a family history of mental illness will experience these symptoms earlier and at more severe levels if he uses drugs.

What Is Dual Diagnosis Treatment?

For people with a family history of mental illness or other medical problems, getting Dual Diagnosis treatment is crucial for recover. Dual Diagnosis treatment provides doctors and therapists with the information they need to treat the entire person, not just the addiction. Without this specialized help, California addicts with underlying mental illnesses may not achieve the same level of success in rehab. Getting the right diagnosis before treatment means the person with a brain disease or other medical condition can get the help she needs.

California Addiction Help

If you or someone you love in California struggles with drug addiction and has a family history of mental illness, we are here to help. Call our toll-free 24 hour helpline anytime. We can help you recover.

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