Mental health issues are becoming a part of life for an increasing amount of people in the UK, but what are multi disorders? Otherwise known as dual diagnosis or co-occurring conditions, this is when an individual experiences both a mental health problem and an addiction or behavioural health issue, for example an eating disorder.
The increase in mental health dual diagnosis
Studies show that approximately 50% of people who experience mental illness are also substance abusers. Although it’s not entirely clear why these conditions occur side-by-side so often, one explanation is people who experience mental health issues often self-soothe or self-medicate by using drugs, alcohol or food. Conversely, it’s also feasible that those who suffer from something such as an eating disorder will go on to develop anxiety or depression as they struggle to cope with their illness.
Another possible cause of the rise in multi disorders is that drugs can make the symptoms of mental illness worse. Some scientists think that certain drugs can make it more likely for someone to develop a mental illness. This ties in with recent research which has shown that using cannabis may be linked to developing schizophrenia.
Treatment is important with any addiction or mental health issue but this is especially the case with multi disorders because the conditions often aggravate one another. For example, the longer someone is experiencing depression, the worse their drug or alcohol problem could get.
The impact of modern living on mental health
Until as recently as a few decades ago mental health and mental illness was an overlooked and underappreciated area. It’s almost impossible to gather accurate figures from many years ago due to the likelihood people suffered in silence, or simply didn’t know that what they were experiencing was a mental illness.
What we do know is that since mental illness has become a topic of concern, the figures have continued to rise year-on-year. People can see this rise reflected in the ever-increasing amount of news stories or television programmes centred on these issues and now mental health is accepted as a real issue and a cause for priority by health professionals. Recent statistics have proved this:
- The most up-to-date statistics show that in just one year in the UK, there were 8.2 million cases of anxiety
- 20% of adolescents may experience a mental health problem in any given year
- Depression affects around 22% of men and 28% of women aged 65 years and over
- Suicide is the most common cause of death for men aged 20-49 in England and Wales
- Mixed anxiety and depression is the most common mental disorder in Britain with 9% of people meeting the criteria for diagnosis
- Mental health problems are one of the main causes of the overall disease burden worldwide
The pressure of day-to-day living in the 21st Century
Experts believe there could be many factors associated with modern-day living that are contributing to the rise in the number of cases of mental illness, addiction and multi disorders. After all, we’re facing more pressures than ever before including:
- Working longer hours. Having remote access to work emails and systems means that all too often we’re tempted to log-in at weekends or in the evening; we’re never fully switching off from work and letting ourselves relax
- Pressures from magazines and television and the rise of social media means people simply cannot escape the ideal of achieving the ‘perfect body’
- The cost of living has increased dramatically which means that many people are struggling to cope financially. Money is one of the biggest causes of stress, anxiety and depression
- The role of women in society has changed dramatically in a very short space of time: we now see today’s families adapting to women juggling their jobs/careers with family life
- Women are choosing to have children much later on in life because they’re focussed on their careers. However, they still face pressure from friends, family and society to ‘settle down’
- Social media leads people to constantly compare their lives to others and causes them to feel like they’re not achieving as much as other people are
- Modern technology means we now communicate via email, text message, social media or instant messenger. Spending time with the people we love has been proven to be beneficial to our mental health yet we’re spending less and less time doing it
All of these things take a toll on our stress levels and can lead to a number of conditions including anxiety and depression. As people struggle to cope, they’re more likely to turn to drugs and alcohol and other coping mechanisms and this can then lead to multi disorders.
If you think that you or someone you know could have a multi disorder, please feel free to read our information page for more details about diagnosis and treatment. Alternatively, you can contact Life Works in the strictest of confidence if you would like to talk to someone about the signs, symptoms and different options available to you.
For more information about our Family Works Programme, please feel free to visit our Treatment Methods page. Alternatively, for further details about alcoholism, the signs, symptoms and treatments that are available, visit our Alcohol Addiction Treatment and Rehabilitation page.
For more information about art therapy and how it can help in the treatment of mental health conditions, please contact Life Works.