What causes mental health problems? While the question itself might seem straightforward, the answer is relatively complicated. When it comes to developing mental health problems, no two people will have identical experiences. Generally speaking, there is a range of risk factors that make a person more susceptible to the development of mental illness, including:
- Genetic predisposition.
- Environmental factors and consistently high-stress levels.
- Chemical imbalances in the brain.
- The presence of a co-occurring disorder, like a behavioral addiction or a substance use disorder.
- The development of stressful life situations, like bankruptcy or the sudden loss of a loved one.
What exactly is a mental health problem? Many types of mental health concerns range from an isolated experience to a chronic and diagnosable condition. For example, a new mother might experience a bout of postpartum depression after giving birth. This mental health problem might last for several months and either resolve on its own or be successfully treated with a combination of medication and therapy. However, it is unlikely that a woman who has suffered postpartum depression will experience this same mental health concern again over the course of her life.
A person might struggle with a chronic anxiety disorder, like Generalized Anxiety Disorder. This mental illness might be genetic — the sufferer might have “inherited” a chemical imbalance in his or her brain from an immediate family member. But, of course, there are other risk factors as well, including substance misuse and dependence. At Agape Treatment Center, we work directly with clients who struggle with addiction and an underlying mental illness, treating all existing conditions effectively and simultaneously. Contact us today to learn more about our dual diagnosis program.
Can a Person Prevent a Mental Health Issue From Developing?
If a person has risk factors for mental illness, is there anything they can do to prevent it from developing? Unfortunately, the answer to substance abuse and dependence is a resounding “yes.” For example, say a person grows up with an alcoholic father. They watch their father drink himself into oblivion every evening, eventually losing his job, marriage, and home to alcoholism. Watching someone you love struggle with addiction can be traumatic, and many people who undergo a similar experience attempt to self-medicate rather than reach out for professional help.
Unfortunately, because addiction is genetic, self-medicating often leads to developing a substance abuse disorder. Therefore, rather than reach for drugs or alcohol, it is good for the person with the alcoholic father to begin attending individual therapy and perhaps a support group for the loved ones of people struggling with alcoholism. This could potentially prevent the person from developing an alcohol use disorder themselves. In the case of some mental illnesses, however — conditions like bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, for example — no preventative measures can be taken. However, these conditions can be successfully treated once symptoms develop.
Agape Treatment Center and the Treatment of Dual Diagnosis Disorders
At Agape Treatment Center, we understand how difficult it can be to reach out for help. Many of our staff members were once where you are now — struggling with a life-threatening addictive disorder, unsure whether undergoing treatment would be worth it. It is important to remember that addiction is a disease of denial. The things you might say to yourself regularly are not necessarily true. Things like, “I can handle this alone; I don’t need help.” “If I wanted to quit, I would just quit; I simply don’t want to yet.” “I’m not hurting anyone but myself; why don’t others just leave me alone and let me live my life?” It is almost impossible for someone struggling with addiction to make rational decisions in their best interest. Allow us at Agape Treatment Center to be the voice of reason.
Contact us today to learn more about our effective dual diagnosis recovery program, and remember – you are the only one standing in between yourself and a better way of life.