Residential mental health services

Understanding comorbid substance abuse and mental health issues

Addiction and mental health often go hand in hand. As is often the case, addiction to substances is merely a symptom of serious, underlying mental health issues.

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How The Hader Clinic treats mental health (dual diagnosis)

In the same way that substance addiction can be a symptom of mental health issues, drugs and alcohol can instigate and inflame mental health issues.

Mental wellbeing can be affected by four main factors that are out of the control of the patient in questions. They are not a choice. These are:

  • Biological factors like hormonal balance and brain chemistry
  • Genealogical history, including hereditary mental health issues
  • Life experiences, especially past trauma and abuse sustained by the patient
  • Substance abuse and misuse, often resulting in addiction

Identifying these factors can lead to the correct diagnosis. At our mental health treatment facility, patients get access to clinical psychologists and other mental health professionals who work in multidisciplinary teams to formulate holistic treatment plans.

The Hader Clinic’s Jackson Oppy explains how addicts are not able to predict how much they are going to use once they start using or control their use.

The effects of comorbid mental health and substance abuse

Mental health and addictive substances can bring out the worst in each other. Here are some of the main effects of dual diagnosis issues, which can, fortunately, be treated.


  • Self-harm and suicide
  • Violence
  • Changes in brain chemistry
  • Fatigue and low energy levels
  • Constant nausea
  • Digestive problems
  • Decreased pain threshold


  • Triggers, compulsion, and obsession
  • Compulsive lying and denial
  • Decrease cognitive function
  • Disassociation with reality


  • Rapid, noticeable mood swings
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Paranoia and psychosis
  • Delusions and hallucinations
  • Aggression and anger


  • Reclusiveness and apathy
  • Damaged relationships with family and friends
  • Lack of interest in work, school, and hobbies
  • Inability to manage finances
  • Sexual problems


  • Damaged relationship with self
  • Damaged to self esteem and self worth
  • Inability to function without substances
  • Continuing to use despite consequences
We work with private health funds to support our patients.
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Mental health in the withdrawal phase

Withdrawal from drugs and alcohol can present a crisis point for addicts suffering from mental health issues. Withdrawal puts a tremendous strain not only on the body, but also the mind as it attempts to reset chemical imbalances after the removal of substances.

Depending on the patient and the substance, those afflicted with dual diagnosis may experience the following symptoms during withdrawal:

  • Anger and frustration
  • Disassociation from the world
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Suicidal ideation
  • Dejection, hopelessness, and sadness

The Hader Clinic helps dual diagnosis patients manage their first 28-Day Withdrawal & Detox Program by addressing withdrawal holistically. We treat the physical, psychological, emotional, social, and spiritual effects of withdrawal concurrently. This allows dual diagnosis patients to move onto the next stage of addiction with the best chance of ongoing success.

Frequently asked questions about dual diagnosis and mental health issues

What are some statistics about mental health and substance addiction?

The comorbidity of mental health and substance abuse problems is a widely studied phenomenon. This hasn't always been the case. As we learn more about the influence that mental health and addiction have on each other, we can come to a greater understanding of the root causes of addiction.

Here are some key figures that paint a picture of just how interlinked mental health and addiction are:

  • Around 50% of individuals with mental health issues are affected by a substance abuse problem.
  • 37% of alcohol abusers and 53% of drug abusers also have at least one serious mental illness.
  • Of all people diagnosed as mentally ill, 29% abuse either alcohol or drugs.

Why do people with mental illnesses use drugs?

In short, drugs and alcohol are a coping mechanism. An ineffective one for sure, but a coping mechanism all the same. The self-medication of substances to treat mental health issues is extremely dangerous, and often leads to worsening of the original condition.

Mental illness can be challenging to diagnose, and can often go undiagnosed for an extended period. Because they do not have the therapeutic tools to deal with their illness, patients then turn to substances as a way of managing.

What are some ways that I should take care of my mental health?

Practising self care is extremely important for looking after mental health and wellbeing. Just as the body needs exercise and healthy food, the mind needs attention to keep it running healthily.

Here are some day to day things you can do to keep your mental health and wellbeing in check:

  • Connect with other people by reaching out to them
  • Remain positive through your actions and words
  • Do physical exercise and make sure you are eating well
  • Help other people when they need support
  • Get enough sleep each night
  • Develop healthy coping skills for your existing issues
  • Make time for meditation and mindfulness

I thought my loved one was too smart to let their mental health and addiction take over. What happened?

Comorbid mental health and substance abuse issues have nothing to do with intelligence. Mental health and mental illness often stem from a variety of environmental, genetic, and other exterior factors. Addiction doesn't discriminate by age, sex, income, or any other factor.

We try to help see mental illness and addiction as an affliction. Like many illnesses, these issues can be treated. These holistic treatments, involving different therapies and activities, are clinically proven to help treat addiction, and give all patients the best shot at long term recovery.

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