Many people who have a serious mental illness also have co-existing problems with substance use disorder. Evidence shows that the simultaneous presence of these two problems increases the odds of aggressive or violent behavior. Researchers have looked into what happens to the aggression levels of people who suffer from a mental illness and receive treatment for their substance problems. These researchers concluded that a successful reduction of substance intake can lead to reduced aggression levels in affected individuals. Read on to learn more about how dual diagnosis treatment reduces aggression and how a substance abuse treatment program at Lucida Treatment Center can help you. Substance Use and Mental Illness Mental health guidelines classify substance use disorder as a form of mental illness. When a person who has an addiction also has a separate mental illness, this is called a dual diagnosis. Specific mental illnesses found in people with such a diagnosis include schizophrenia, major depression, and bipolar disorder. These illnesses commonly produce serious disruptions in a person's ability to maintain a sufficient level of mental health and well-being. Several partially overlapping factors help explain simultaneous problems with severe mental illness and substance use. First, a mentally ill person who does not receive effective dual diagnosis treatment has an increased chance of using drugs or alcohol as part of an unsupervised attempt at self-medication. Additionally, they may also experience worse symptoms while they are under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Some people also develop symptoms of severe mental illness after they abuse substances. Dual Diagnosis and Aggression Many people believe that individuals who suffer from mental illness are more violent than the rest of the adult population. However, the reason for aggressive or violent behavior may be the combined presence of mental illness and substance abuse. People with a dual diagnosis are over 50 percent more likely to commit violent acts than people who suffer from mental illness alone. The authors of this study attributed the increased risks for violence\/aggression to the added impact of substance use. In people affected only by mental illness, some of the risks for violent or aggressive behavior may come from genetic factors not related to the presence of diagnosable mental health problems. Impact of Substance Treatment Researchers examined 278 adults who suffer from both mental illness and substance abuse to test their aggression levels. All of these adults qualified for dual diagnosis. Additionally, they received treatment in an outpatient program that was designed for people with such a diagnosis. They analyzed the behavioral changes in participants who successfully lowered their substance intake. Researchers wanted to determine if substance use or severe mental illness plays a critical role in aggressive conduct. After completing their assessment, the researchers concluded that dual diagnosis treatment does lead to a significant decline in aggressive behavior. When they explored this further, they concluded that the benefit is related to increased involvement in the treatment process. They attributed this increased involvement to lowered intake of drugs and\/or alcohol. They identified that substance use is a key factor in the relationship between mental illness and acts of aggression or violence. Additionally, the researchers found that the severity of mental illness at the start of treatment does not consistently help determine which people with a dual diagnosis will act in an aggressive or violent manner. Overall, they concluded that substance treatment provides two benefits for dual diagnosis patients. First, it leads to reduced exposure to substance-related harm. It also decreases the odds that a person affected by a dual diagnosis will act violently at some later point during or after the treatment process. How Lucida Treatment Center Can Help Treat Dual Diagnosis If you or a loved one suffers from a dual diagnosis, contact Lucida Treatment Center at . We are able to treat mental illness as well as addiction. We have the treatment and co-occurring treatment programs in Lantana, FL to help you cope with the symptoms of your mental illness. Contact us today to learn more about our services.