Similarities Between Psychiatric And Substance Use Disorders

Similarities Between Psychiatric And Substance Use Disorders

It is often difficult to accept that one is suffering from psychiatric or substance use disorder. It becomes even difficult for them to accept that they need to be treated. Once in the center, they begin to look for the differences between themselves and the others which is completely wrong. There’s a famous slogan in the “12 – step program” which says “Look for the similarities, not the differences” 

When a person tries to spot differences between themselves and others, they’re often trying to identify the loopholes instead. They’ll come up with excuses trying to justify that they don’t need any treatment. But that should not happen. One should be looking for similarities instead of differences. 

How Are Psychiatric And Substance Disorders Similar?

Both psychiatric disorders and substance disorders have some similarities. One is that they are no – fault illnesses. Which means, no one chose to have those and it’s not their fault to be struggling with them. Some people are strong enough to accept it and that helps them to move out of self – blame and get better recovery. 

Another similarity between these two disorders is that they both are stigmatized illnesses. You would suffer more from the stigma than the illness itself. Initially people suffering from these disorders were disgraced greatly but thankfully, people these days understand it better and have accepted it as disorders. This helps greatly in the recovery of our loved ones. 

These disorders have one more similarity which is that they both are isolation illnesses. People often isolate themselves due to the disturbing thoughts they have in their minds which stops them from spending time with others. Some are even isolated by others because they are not ready to accept the illness. 

These are also brain disorders. There has been evidence that a certain disturbance in the brain chemistry leads to forming biological basis for illnesses like anxiety, depression and bipolar disorder. 

Both substance use and psychiatric disorders are also chronic diseases. They are lingering and persistent disorders and have other similarities too such as tendency to be inherited, common biological foundations, potentially deniable, chances of relapse, progressive deterioration, shame and guilt. But they have a positive side too which is – curability. They both have scope for treatment and recovery. 

Positively, both these disorders share parallel treatment and recovery phases including engagement in treatment, acute stabilization and prolonged maintenance. They both overlap and influence each other. But what causes the confusion is dual recovery. It means going for a treatment method which cures both the psychiatric and substance use disorders.  However, that is not something impossible and can be treated successfully. 

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