Have you heard the figure of speech “lead by example?” This lesson is often expressed towards individuals that are looked up to—elders, celebrities, coaches, teachers, etc. One commonly overlooked medium often seen as an “example” is the media and its social influence on people.
The media often displays alcohol and drinking as “sexy,” “cool” and a way to be “accepted” among your peers. It also projects that the image of drinking – or drinking in excess – has little to no consequences.
Does this mean that every individual that partakes in a celebratory drink or goes out to a bar with friends on the weekend is going to develop alcoholism? No, but it does perpetuate the idea that going out and drinking with friends on a regular basis won’t start a habit that leads to dependence and so on.
Psychological Problems & Alcoholism
Psychological problems like anxiety, depression, PTSD or bi-polar disorder often lead people to find ways to alleviate the mental and emotional pain they are feeling. Alcohol or illicit drug abuse commonly become that crutch.
- According to the Alcohol, Drug Abuse, and Mental Health Administration, almost half of the 2 million Americans diagnosed with psychiatric disorders abuse alcohol or drugs, compared to 15 percent of the general population
When individuals are struggling with a psychiatric disorder and alcoholism it is called a dual diagnosis.
According to Patrick Smith, MA, of PacifiCare Behavioral Health:
A substance abuse problem can mimic, mask, or aggravate various mental health disorders.
Because alcoholism can mask mental health problems it can lead to a misdiagnosis and create a vicious cycle if both are not properly treated.
The only way to successfully recover from alcoholism if also suffering from a psychiatric disorder is to equally and simultaneously treat both the alcohol abuse problem and the psychiatric problem.
For more information on dual diagnosis or to find a dual diagnosis treatment program call us immediately.
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