Most people who have an addiction problem also have some sort of emotional problem—it might be depression, anxiety, an eating disorder, post-traumatic stress or a personality disorder. It's called dual diagnosis, meaning two problems at once.
Everyone has some emotional issues at times, but if you're experiencing any of the emotional problems listed below on a regular basis, it could be the underlying reason for your technology addiction.
- Depression: Feeling down and blue and being unable to shake loose from it.
- Post-traumatic stress: After surviving or witnessing a physically harmful experience, such as a rape, assault or child abuse, you keep reliving it in your mind.
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder: You feel the need to keep doing some action over and over, such as hand-washing or checking that you turned off the stove.
- Generalized anxiety: Trouble with nerves, which may feel like continual worrying; or frequent physical problems, such as stomach upset.
- Phobia: Your intense fear of something causes significant problems in your life. It might be snakes, flying, crowds or blood, for example.
- Eating disorder: You use food to cope with emotional pain. You may do this by binging and purging (eating large amounts, then forcing yourself to throw up) or not eating enough.
- Personality disorder: You relate to others in ways that cause serious problems, which can include repeated criminal behavior, extreme dependence on others or an inability to sustain friendships.
Dual Recovery: Treating the Whole Person
A coexisting emotional problem can make it difficult to battle an addiction, especially if you're doing it on your own. That's why the two issues should be treated at the same time. It's called dual recovery and it offers real hope.
In some treatment programs, you may still hear the message that you need to get clean before you can work on an emotional problem. But that often doesn't work.
Getting help for an emotional problem can actually boost your chances of recovery from addiction.
We Can Help
If you suspect you have an emotional problem in addition to an addiction or obsession, we can perform a professional evaluation and help you access whatever services you need for dual recovery.
Your EAP solution includes free and confidential professional support services from VITAL WorkLife—24 hours a day, 365 days per year—for both you and family members. Simply call 800.383.1908 or access resources through your VITAL WorkLife App to get started or request a face-to-face counseling session.
You may wonder which came first—the addiction or the mental health problem? At VITAL WorkLife, we believe that answering that question isn't as important as following this rule: If you have both, treat both.
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