Having an addiction to drugs or alcohol can be difficult to handle, but when they occur together, they can create an even bigger challenge. It is not uncommon for someone to be addicted to both drugs and alcohol. Finding the right treatment for both types of disorders is important to your health and long-term recovery.
Reasons Why People Get Addicted to Both Drugs & Alcohol
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), drug and alcohol addiction go hand in hand. Those who are dependent on one substance are more likely to use another. In addition, those who suffer from a drug or alcohol addiction may also have a psychiatric disorder such as depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder or have other health problems resulting from their addiction.
A person may have a higher risk of becoming addicted to both drugs and alcohol due to several factors:
- Genetics. Having a parent who has alcohol or drug addiction puts you at a higher risk of developing a substance or alcohol use disorder.
- Abusing alcohol or drugs. It is not uncommon for someone who is addicted to drugs or alcohol to start using additional substances and become addicted to them as well.
- Mental health disorder. Those who have anxiety, depression, or another mental health disorder are at a higher risk for developing an addiction to drugs and alcohol. They may use a variety of substances to self-medicate their disorder if not properly diagnosed.
- Environment. Being in a high-stress environment or having pressure from those around you to use alcohol or drugs can put you at a higher risk for abuse.
Dangers of Mixing Drugs & Alcohol
Mixing drugs and alcohol can be dangerous or even fatal. Combining alcohol with illegal or prescription drugs will cause havoc in the body, as the combinations can worsen the overall effects of either substance. The risk of drug overdose or alcohol poisoning is higher when using both together.
Some serious side effects that can occur from mixing drugs and alcohol include:
- Increased heart rate or blood pressure
- Severe nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea
- Blacking out
- Liver or kidney damage
- Lowered respiratory function
Signs of Drug & Alcohol Addiction
If you or a loved one is showing signs of a drug and alcohol addiction, it is time to get help from a professional. Be aware of the following behaviors or moods in yourself or your loved one:
- Feeling depressed or anxious
- Change in personality and appearance
- Feeling paranoid or fearful
- Having a negative self-image
- Withdrawing from friends and family
- Having suicidal thoughts and a negative attitude toward life
- Not being motivated
- Being disinterested in things once enjoyed
- Having problems with finances
- Having issues at work or school
Getting the correct diagnosis is essential to treatment and recovery. It can often be a challenge to get an accurate diagnosis when substance use disorders occur along with a mental health disorder.
Treatment Options for Drug & Alcohol Addiction
There are various treatment options to consider for a drug and alcohol addiction. The most robust treatment option, inpatient or residential treatment, involves group and individual therapy to help clients understand their motivations for use and gain tools for handling emotions and stress in a healthier way.
Outpatient treatment can be a good option when the addiction is not as severe or when circumstances prevent the person from being away from home for an extended period of time.
Any kind of addiction treatment will require one or more forms of aftercare to make it easier to sustain recovery and build on the healthy habits acquired in treatment. Aftercare can include:
- Participating in individual and family therapy
- Enrolling in outpatient treatment and continuing care
- Attending 12-step support group meetings such as Alcoholic Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous
- Avoiding situations or people that put you at risk for relapse and using
- Working regularly with trusted friends or family members to support your sobriety
Twin Lakes Recovery Center Can Help
Finding a drug and alcohol treatment center can help put you on the path to recovery. At Twin Lakes Recovery Center, we offer treatment for substance abuse, alcohol abuse, and co-occurring disorders. We have a variety of programs to meet your specific needs, including a detox and residential program, outpatient programs, relapse prevention programs, certified therapists, and wellness activities designed to help you heal mind, body, and spirit.