Dual diagnosis in gambling addiction and mental health disorders. Special Guest Post By, Nicola Smith.

As a dually diagnosed person myself, my recovery friends know it has been difficult for me to put into words how it feels to live and maintain my 10+years in recovery from gambling addiction while having mental health challenges.

So I enjoy having special guests here when I can that can write and explain it a “wee bit better” than I can. I welcome Author, Nicola Smith, and special thanks to Maegan Jones of Healthline.com for putting us together!
Catherine Lyon “-)

How to Help Depressed Loved One 2

What is Dual Diagnosis?

Dual Diagnosis is a relatively new concept in the addiction recovery field. Up until the 1990s, people experiencing symptoms of a mental health disorder such as anxiety attacks, depressive episodes, delusional behavior or mood swings were often treated separately to people who sought treatment for addiction. In some cases, when conditions overlapped people were required to get clean or sober or overcome their gambling addiction, for example, before they could be treated for mental illnesses.


Mental health illnesses associated with gambling addiction


With recent findings that 
substance abuse and addiction are often driven by underlying mental health illnesses, people with a Dual Diagnosis have been unable to get the help they needed in decades’ past. The Office of Applied Sciences at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service’s Administration (SAMSHA) within the United States Department of Health and Human Services reported in 2002 that only 12 percent of the 4 million American adults suffering from a Dual Diagnosis received treatment for both conditions.

Patients with a Dual Diagnosis are referred to as having a co-occurring disorder. The most common mental health illnesses associated with gambling addiction are depression and anxiety, as outlined by Dr. Jon Grant — Professor of Psychiatry & Behavioral Neuroscience at the University of Chicago and supervisor of an outpatient clinic for those with an addictive-impulsive disorder. Symptoms of being impulsive and risky are also seen in those with gambling addictions, according to Dr. Grant.


Mental illnesses that often co-occur with gambling addiction include depression, bipolar disorder, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and anxiety. In cases of people addicted to gambling who also experience depression or anxiety, the hope of fun that rolling the dice or spin of a slot machine can make depression and anxiety worse over time.


A recent survey of more than 43,000 Americans found, that 76 percent of people with a gambling addiction suffered from depression while 16 to 40 percent experienced lifetime anxiety. Also within the group, 24 percent had a 
lifetime prevalence of bipolar disorder and 20 percent had symptoms of lifetime prevalence of ADHD.

Which occurs first?

The finding that many people with gambling addictions also have other mental health conditions has raised questions among healthcare professionals — which occurs first? Is it that pathological gambling occurs as a result of a person experiencing another condition and turning to gambling for an escape? Or, could a person suffer financial and relationship problems due to excessive gambling consequently developing depression?

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A recent study of 10,000 Americans found that gambling addiction occurred before the onset of another disorder 25 percent of the time while a gambling disorder occurred after another disorder was already present 75 percent of the time. Although further studies are needed to clearly determine the order between gambling addiction and co-occurring mental health illness, the connection between the two indicates that Dual Diagnosis treatment is one of the most effective approaches to recovery by treating addiction and mental health illnesses concurrently.

How does treatment work?


Dual Diagnosis treatment involves a combination of the most effective treatments for mental health illnesses and addiction. Where there once would have been a line drawn between mental health and addiction, these conditions are now treated as part of a continuum. With the recent rise in Dual Diagnosis treatment, healthcare professionals who work in addiction treatment can now undertake training and certification in the treatment of co-occurring mental health illnesses. Dedicated facilities are now also offering recovery services specializing in treatment for Dual Diagnosis people.

Treatments such as medication, cognitive behavioral therapy, and support for Dual Diagnosis patients with an addiction to gambling and mental health illnesses recognize and treat the person’s addictions and illnesses with a continuum focus, putting them in a better position to make a full and long lasting recovery.

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Helpful and Informative Resources:

An Introduction to Co-Occurring Borderline Personality Disorder and Substance Use Disorders, 2015, Office of Applied Sciences at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service’s Administration (SAMSHA), https://newsletter.samhsa.gov/2015/03/03/


Dual Diagnosis Treatment, 2017,
DualDiagnosos.org,
http://www.dualdiagnosis.org/dual-diagnosis-treatment/


Kessler RC, Hwang I, LaBrie R, et al. DSM-IV pathological gambling in the National Comorbidity 
Survey Replication. Psychol Med. 2008;38(9):1351–60.

Petry NM, Stinson FS, Grant BF. Comorbidity of DSM-IV pathological gambling and other psychiatric disorders: results from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions. J Clin Psychiatry. 2005;66(5):564–74.


Recent Facts and Statistics on Dual Diagnosis, 2017,
Michael’s House, http://www.michaelshouse.com/dual-diagnosis/facts-statistics/


Roads to Recovery from Gambling Addiction, Volume 2, 2019,
National Center for Responsible Gambling, http://www.ncrg.org/


What Clinicians need to know about Gambling Disorders, Volume 7, 2012,
National Center for Responsible Gambling, http://www.ncrg.org/
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About The Author:

With a keen interest in holistic health and wellness, Nicola Smith works with heart-centred female entrepreneurs in the health and wellness industry, providing copy that engages to help grow their businesses. Her goal is to help women increase their impact on the world, build the business of their dreams, and inspire others to simplify their lives, pack a suitcase and book a ticket to somewhere they’ve always wanted to visit or live. You can also follow her adventures and join her FB Group on Instagram @luggagelifestyle 

Is Being Diagnosed With Mental Health For Men More Difficult Than For Females? Guest Post From NAMI…

Is Being Diagnosed With Mental Health For Men More Difficult Than For Females? Guest Post From NAMI…

So? Is mental illness more difficult for men than women?  Can they learn to cope and come to acceptance of a diagnosis?  I came across a great article from my friends at “The National Alliance on Mental Illness” and they help many find treatment, advocate, raise awareness and educate the public on a growing topic impacting thousands. Mental illness and disorders in the society we seem to live in today is affecting 1 in 5 people each year. So is it harder for men? Give this article a read to learn more…

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Depression is an Illness, Not a Weakness

By Joshua Beharry and Dr. John Ogrodniczuk | Apr. 21, 2017  NAM

While growing up, boys learn what it means to “be a man.” Unfortunately, some of these “manly” teachings can be downright harmful like “big boys don’t cry,” “suck it up,” “tough it out,” and more.  Most boys are taught to ignore or dismiss their feelings—internalizing vulnerability and asking for help as a weakness. Boys then grow into men, without ever being in touch with their emotions or knowing how to identify or describe what’s bothering them.

For these reasons, many men find depression a difficult topic to discuss. They feel ashamed that they need help and are too embarrassed to ask for it. “For a long time, I’d been pushing things away, hiding my emotions and pretending that everything was okay, but it was getting to the point where I was afraid that I’d drifted too far and I wasn’t going to come back,” says Joel Robison, concept photographer and mental health advocate.

Starting the conversation is the first step towards recovery. For many men who have overcome depression, the turning point came when they reached out to a friend or family member for support. It’s usually something they wished they had done sooner rather than later. Here are specific things any guy can do to start a conversation about mental health:

Talking to a Friend or Family Member

 

If you don’t normally talk about your mental health or feelings, it can be hard to know which person in your life is best to talk to. And you may be worried about the reaction you’ll get if you reach out. Just keep in mind that the conversation doesn’t have to be perfect, and you should only share what you’re comfortable with. Try easing in:

  • “I’ve been getting pretty stressed lately.”
  • “I’m going through a tough time right now, and I think something might be wrong.”
  • “I think I may be depressed, have you noticed me seeming more down lately?”

Be prepared for different responses—in particular, don’t be deterred if you don’t find the support you were hoping for right away. But if things go well, you can talk more and ask for more specific support, like working out together or helping you keep up with chores. Most people are happy to be given a chance to lend a hand in a time of need. When you’re doing better, you can return the favor.

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Talking to a Professional


Depression
is a serious illness. It can make your life miserable if it’s not treated properly. When you break your arm, you go to the doctor. If you have ongoing serious pain, you go to the doctor. If you think you may have depression, you go to the doctor. That’s how simple it should be. When you talk to a doctor, you’re talking to someone who knows about depression, and whose job it is to help you. That’s why it’s essential to get their input.

If you’re hesitant to see a doctor because you think they’ll just throw medication at you, know that medication isn’t the only treatment for depression. Your doctor can give you advice about certain lifestyle changes and different treatment options that may or may not include medications.

Once you’re at your appointment, it may feel a little awkward getting started. Be as honest and as specific as possible about how you’re feeling and the impact it’s having on your life. Here are some examples:

  • “I can’t sleep at all.”
  • “I’m too tired to go to work, but I keep going out drinking.”
  • “I don’t want to see my friends anymore; I’m sick of everyone.”
  • “Sex isn’t interesting me like it used to and it’s getting harder to perform.”
  • “I’ve been gaining (or losing) a lot of weight recently.”

Depression is one of the leading risk factors for suicide. It’s a real and serious condition that affects millions every year. Talking about depression is never easy, but men everywhere need to start talking about their mental health. There are effective treatments and there’s no shame in seeking support. In fact, reaching out could very well be the smartest and bravest thing you could do. It could save your life.

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Joshua R Beharry — Since recovering from experiences with depression and a suicide attempt in 2010, Joshua R. Beharry has become a passionate advocate for mental health. Josh is currently the project coordinator for Heads Up Guys a resource for men suffering mental illness.

For more help and exceptional resources for mental and emotional illness, please visit my friends of  NAMI Today!.