alcoholism and narcissistic personality disorder

Alcoholism and Narcissistic Personality Disorder: How Are They Related?

In a study done by Psycom, Narcissistic Personality Disorder “affects anywhere from 0.5 to 5% of the general US population with a greater prevalence of men than women. The percentage is low because, to be diagnosed, someone with NPD has to admit they have issues–-which they often do not.”

Granite Mountain BHC offers services that are designed to address the issues of addiction and mental health conditions such as narcissistic personality disorder. We have professionals with years of experience willing to help you or a loved one heal from your disorder. Our goal is to ensure that you receive quality care and leave with the tools you need to get back into society. Do not be a part of the statistic and let us help.

What is alcoholism?

Alcoholism is the abuse of alcohol that involves the inability to manage an individual’s drinking habits. Alcoholism is also known as alcohol use disorder. Individuals who struggle with alcoholism feel that they cannot function without alcohol. Through time this can lead to negatively impacting those individual goals, relationships, personal matters, and overall health. Alcoholism can lead to serious side effects and can generate damaging complications.

What is a personality disorder?

Alcohol Abuse and Personality Disorders Treatment in Prescott ValleyA personality disorder is when the individual’s way of thinking, feeling, and behaving has been compromised by a mental disorder that produces these things in an unhealthy way. Diagnosis of a personality disorder requires a mental health professional. Most diagnoses are made when the individual is 18 or older because those who are under 18 they are still developing their personalities.

Narcissism and Alcoholism Overview

Narcissism is a personality disorder that may cause individuals to portray self-involved behaviors. Alcoholism is an addiction where the individual cannot control their alcohol use.

How Narcissists and Alcoholics Are Similar

Narcissism and alcoholism may sometimes overlap in terms of the characteristics they share and the fact that they can occur at the same time.

Narcissism is when the individual feels the need to be admired, to be shown a lack of empathy, or be self-involved. Individuals who suffer from alcohol use disorder are unable to reduce or stop drinking.

Individuals who suffer from narcissism and alcoholism have what is known as a dual diagnosis. During this period some of the features of alcohol use disorder (AUD) and narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) include:

  • A persistent need for either attention or alcohol
  • Avoiding emotions like shame, guilt, or shifting responsibility
  • Blaming others
  • Showing destructive behavior towards themselves or others
  • Having mood swings or unpredictable behavior
  • Difficulty with work or relationships

Alcohol Abuse and Personality Disorders Related?

The symptoms of alcoholic abuse and personality disorders oftentimes overlap. Alcohol dependency can be mixed in with mood, anxiety, substance abuse, and personality disorders.

While alcoholism cannot cause a personality disorder it can make the individuals how hostile behavior, paranoia, and edginess. Alcohol can become an outlet for an individual with a personality disorder who feels numb, dull, or excited about the intensity of their emotional experiences. Those with personality disorders can use alcohol as a way to experience short-term relief. These things can lead to alcohol dependence and addiction, which pushes the addiction to become physical and psychological.

Personality Characteristics of Alcoholics: What Are They?

Dual Diagnosis Treatment in Prescott Valley ArizonaMany signs and personality characteristics portray substance abuse. Even though different stages of alcoholism may change the way the individual behaves in most cases these personality traits are similar.

Some of these traits include:

Individuals who are dependent on alcohol constantly think about having an alcoholic beverage. They can get irritated or frustrated if they do not have alcohol at their disposal. They depend on alcohol to have a good time and do not think they can enjoy company or life without it. 

Many individuals who struggle with substance disorders tend to condemn others due to their alcoholic personalities. They may blame the fact that they drink on their family or friends. While it is partially true that an individual can begin drinking due to a stressful environment or to let loose in hopes of feeling better, this can damage relationships. 

Individuals who have an alcoholic personality tend to brush things off. Some individuals might state that doing things with friends like watching a football game or just hanging out, is not as fun without an alcoholic beverage. Doing activities with friends or families are not as fun if it does not involve a bit of drinking and so the individual would brush off the event.

Another alcoholic personality revolves around the inability to control drinking. The individual would show physical and psychological urges or cravings to drink. They may find it hard to stop drinking once they start. An example of this would be if the individual went to a party and stated they were only having a couple of drinks but late drinks more than intended. 

Not only do individuals crave alcohol, brush things off, and condemn others but they feel inclined to change their priorities. For example, an individual who is a father figure and usually reads to his kids every night might start to drink at night or reduce time with his family just to drink. Moreover, they can start to neglect their partners and kids. They began to prioritize drinking over things that usually matter to them. 

Some individuals become reckless when it comes to alcohol. They would engage in dangerous activities or start physical altercations. They may even attend work while intoxicated. These individuals become irresponsible and do not care for the consequences they may face for their actions 

Dual Diagnosis Treatment for Narcissistic Personality Disorder and Alcohol Abuse

While it may be a bit more difficult to recover from alcoholism with a narcissistic personality disorder it is not impossible. Some of the treatments offered at Granite Mountian include: 

  • One-on-one therapy
  • Group therapy
  • Support groups
  • Family programs

Granite Mountain BHC Can Help

Here at Granite Mountain, we can help you or a loved one recover from the dual diagnosis of alcoholism and narcissistic personality disorder. We have built a community that serves individuals in need of healing the body, mind, and spirit. 

Addiction is something no one should face alone. If you or a loved one is suffering from alcoholism or NPD, we are here. Contact Us.  

world mental health day

Focusing on Mental Health: Discussing the Importance of World Mental Health Day

We are in the middle of a pandemic, but it is certainly not the only health problem facing the world. We are also in the middle of a mental and behavioral health crisis. For numerous reasons, more and more people are learning about their mental health issues and getting the care they need. However, it’s scary to think about all of the people who still remain undiagnosed. 

Many people lack education. Others have the education, but they don’t get the help they need due to the stigma of having a mental illness. People with a mental illness have been seen as “weak” or “crazy” instead of being seen as people with a medical diagnosis that requires attention. That’s why mental health professionals lobbied for International Mental Health Day go showcase the importance of mental health awareness.

International Mental Health Day is a day designed to increase awareness and encourage people who suffer from mental illness to seek help to enrich their lives as well as the people around them. We celebrate International Mental Health Day this year on October 10, 2020.

The Mental Health Problem

18% of people in the United States have a mental health condition. Of course, it’s important to understand that these are only the people who come forward to get help. There are a number of people who go through life with mental and behavioral health problems every day but never get help, increasing the importance of mental health awareness. 

Some of the most prevalent mental health conditions include:

  • depression
  • anxiety
  • addiction
  • obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • bipolar
  • schizophrenia
  • post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)


Depression is a disorder characterized by sadness and a lack of enthusiasm for things that someone once loved. It can get so bad that someone may even consider taking their own life.


Anxiety is a disorder characterized by high tension and paranoia. The individual may experience general nervousness their entire life, or it may come up in particular situations.


Addiction is a disorder characterized by the abuse and overindulgence of mind-altering substances, such as alcohol or heroin. The drug takes control over the person until they finally regain control back of their life.


OCD is a disorder characterized by obsessive thoughts and reactionary compulsive behaviors. One example involves compulsive cleaning to control obsessive thoughts about germs and dirtiness.

Bipolar Disorder 

Bipolar is a disorder characterized by intense mood swings. One moment, the person can be on cloud nine, happy, and excited. The next moment, they could be in a depressive state seemingly out of nowhere. They will also typically behave rather impulsively, making rash life decisions or shocking purchases.


Schizophrenia is a disorder characterized by delusions and altered perceptions of reality. People with schizophrenia may hear or see things that aren’t actually there, and these hallucinations can severely alter a person’s behavior.


PTSD is a disorder characterized by flashbacks to trauma. It is often associated with soldiers returned from war or people who have suffered from abuse or a serious accident. The person can be triggered by certain sounds or situations. alternatively, the person can experience flashbacks completely out of nowhere.

Stigma Surrounding Mental Health

Throughout history, people who suffered from mental illness were treated as though they were crazy and possibly even dangerous. This was largely due to a lack of understanding of mental and behavioral health despite the efforts of many to learn more about the topic. People with mental illness may have been seen as possessed. In many cases, treatments were intense. 

If the treatment didn’t work, the person was generally discarded and forced to live in a confined environment with less than adequate accommodations. Even as we learned more, mental health facilities did not have proper facilities. Plus, treatment could even involve the removal of the brain or electric shock therapy. These treatments could permanently alter a person’s brain and personality to the point of serious cognitive deficiency.

Mental Health in the Media 

It doesn’t help how mental illness is often portrayed in the media. In many movies and television shows, mental illness is not represented properly. One common misrepresentation is confusing schizophrenia with a dissociative identity disorder. This misrepresentation only increases confusion about the topic. 

Due to fear, people then make assumptions about mental illness that it seems scary and dangerous. This makes others want to isolate people in their life with mental illness instead of offering understanding and compassion.

The importance of mental health awareness becomes a social concept. We need to offer support and understanding in order to help. That’s how we can remove the stigma and help people become valuable members of society instead of people with a disease.

Treatment for Mental Illness

It’s important for us as a society to recognize the importance of mental health awareness. When people are aware they have a problem, they are more likely to get treatment. 

Of course, it is up to the person suffering to get the treatment available to them. Someone with a mental health problem must take it upon themselves to get help, just like anyone with a health condition such as diabetes needs to get help. It’s that person’s responsibility to get help in order to be able to take care of themselves and the other people in their life. Luckily, there are a number of options when it comes to mental health treatment.

Lifestyle Changes

You may be surprised at how much simple changes in your daily habits can really affect your mental and behavioral health. Start small by taking care of your physical health. Eat foods filled with nutrients, such as fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and whole grains. 

Avoid foods high in fat but low in nutrients, such as potato chips. You should also make a point to exercise a couple of times a week to keep your body active. There are a number of other changes that could help, to, including:

  • drinking more water
  • sleeping 7- 9 every night
  • keeping your home clean
  • developing healthy relationships


Therapy gives you the opportunity to talk about your issues with a trained professional in a safe environment. You will be able to talk about whatever you want to talk about. If you have nothing to say, your therapist can help guide the conversation in the right direction. The therapist will be able to help you identify your problems and get you back on the right track.

You can go to one-on-one therapy or group therapy with people who suffer from similar conditions. One-on-one therapy is a good idea for someone with very personal issues that they wouldn’t feel comfortable talking about in front of a group. Group therapy is a good idea for people who want to develop a support system or need help interacting with other people and making friends.


Many mental disorders are the result of a chemical imbalance in the brain. Generally speaking, this imbalance involves neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and dopamine. This chemical imbalance can sometimes be realigned with the help of medication. The medications will increase or decrease the number of neurotransmitters in the brain. There are different medications for different disorders. Some common medications for mental disorders include:

  • anti-depressants
  • anti-psychotics
  • mood stabilizers
  • stimulants
  • anti-anxiety

Medications can be effective and may be absolutely necessary in some situations. That being said, medications can also have some very serious side effects. In some cases, they may even become addictive. For these reasons, many people are looking for alternative treatments.

Holistic Treatments

There are options for people who don’t want to take medication. There are a number of holistic treatments designed to make someone feel better. Many people will use crystals or other ways to manifest positive energy. While lacking in substantiated evidence, the crystals can have a positive effect on people. 

Other people may choose to try acupuncture or other eastern medicine practices. These practices have been in place for thousands of years, but they have recently been applied to mental health.

Mental Health Rehabilitation

In some serious cases, the best answer could be intensive rehabilitation. In rehab, the patient will learn how to manage their illness. They will also be properly medicated if necessary. 

There are two min types of rehab: inpatient and outpatient. Inpatient treatment involves going to an on-site location and essentially living at the facility for an extended period of time. This is the most intensive treatment. The patient has round-the-clock care, and they are being monitored constantly, keeping them (and others) safe. 

Outpatient treatment involves going to treatment for 4-8 hours a day but still getting the opportunity to go home. This can be better for people who have certain responsibilities they just can’t forego in order to go to inpatient treatment.

International Mental Health Day is an important day in the world of mental and behavioral health. It’s crucial for us as a society to acknowledge the importance of mental health awareness so that people feel comfortable coming forward with their problems and getting the help they desperately need. 

If we don’t allow people to get help freely, more sons, daughters, friends, and spouses will take their own life or go through life miserable. Let’s get these people the help they need instead of shaming them. Show your support for International Mental Health Day this October 10th.

Contact Us Today 

At Granite Mountain Behavioral Healthcare, our team of treatment specialists can help help you find the program that works for you. Treatment is not a one-size-fits-all approach. We utilize a blend of traditional treatment methods as well as more holistic approaches. But most importantly, treatment is centered around you and regaining your health and freedom from addiction. 

If you or someone you know is suffering from a mental health disorder or addiction, it’s time to get help. Contact us today for more information.

Is addiction a mental illnes

Is Addiction a Mental Illness?

Today, it is widely accepted and supported by major scientific institutions such as The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the American Psychiatric Association (APA), that addiction can be classified as a form of mental illness. However, because addiction is a disease comprising both psychological and physical characteristics, it cannot be solely defined as one. 

Within the DSM-V (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), the criteria for addiction and mental disorders, such as anxiety and depression is the same, categorizing them as substance use disorders (SUD). When these conditions coincide, this is known as a dual diagnosis or co-occurring disorder. 

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) define mental illness as a condition that greatly alters a person’s mood, feelings, and thinking patterns. Thus, hindering one’s ability to function properly throughout the day, and maintain relationships with others, including co-workers, friends, and family.   

People who struggle with drug and alcohol addiction also commonly experience radical changes in their behaviors, perceptions, desires, and priorities, interfering with all aspects of their lives, including relationships, work, schooling, and completing everyday tasks. 

Therefore, it is evident that the relationship between mental illness and addiction is both symbiotic yet complex. The question is how are they related, and does one cause the other, or both? 

The addiction specialists at Granite Mountain Behavioral Healthcare in Prescott Valley, AZ, help millions of people suffering from mental illness and addiction, recover and take back control over their lives. 

History of Mental Illness and Addiction

Dating back to the 1930s, the main belief was that people became addicted to drugs and alcohol, because of choice and lack of willpower. The most important revelation is that substance abuse was considered a moral failure, not a mental illness. 

Therefore, because addiction was not viewed as a disease like it is today, treatment such as 12-step programs at a rehab facility was not seen as an option. 

Individuals who had substance use disorders were seen as corrupt criminals and treated as such. People with mental illness were categorized as menaces, and therefore, highly discriminated against and isolated from society.

Is addiction a mental illness

The Relationship Between Addiction and Mental Illness

Research has continued to indicate that co-occurring disorders, two brain disorders occurring in an individual simultaneously, are extremely common. The relationship between substance use and mental illness began back in the 1980s, where there was a high prevalence of dual diagnoses.   

Mental illness is a huge risk factor and contributor to substance abuse. Many factors influence the probability of addiction. These include:

  • Biological Factors: Age, gender, sex
  • Environmental Factors: Being in certain environments where substance use occurs such as home or school, can greatly influence someone to use. 
  • Family History: Being in a home or having family members who have a history of substance abuse and mental illness such as depression increases your chances of developing these conditions. 

Compared to the rest of the population, individuals with addiction are twice as likely to also suffer from mental illness. Vice versa, for those who have one of the common mental conditions, it is twice as likely that they will become dependent and addicted to their substance of choice. 

Underlying Mental Illness 

Oftentimes, people suffering from mental illness are completely unaware that they even have one. It is very common for underlying illness to be misdiagnosed or left untreated because symptoms do not always show up immediately. 

That is why the intake process during detox before beginning treatment is so important. During the psychological evaluation, the admissions team aims to gather as much detailed information about one’s medical history and history of mental illness. If successful, any underlying issues and mental illness will be spotted. This helps medical professionals make more accurate and efficient diagnoses. 

The treatment of co-occurring disorders has become in high demand, as approximately 450 million people (1 in 4) are affected by some type of mental illness. 

Roughly 50 percent of individuals with severe mental disorders are also affected by substance abuse, according to the American Medical Association (AMA). Both the substance use disorder and mental disorder will be treated at the same time to ensure optimal recovery. 

How Addiction Changes the Brain 

Way back when the debate on why addiction was not considered a mental illness was purely on that people can quit using drugs and alcohol if they choose to. However, like other chronic illnesses such as cancer and diabetes, no one chose to develop these diseases, nor can they choose to stop them. 

People do not realize that the same notion goes for addiction. What is not considered or often thought about, is that this disease does not discriminate. It alters an individual’s brain chemistry, structure, and function, which further exacerbates the illness. 

Drugs and alcohol stimulate the brain’s reward center, inciting the release of chemicals called neurotransmitters. When these substances are consumed, most commonly, dopamine is released, producing short-term feelings of euphoria and pleasure. 

Due to the brain and body recognizing these side-effects of a sense of joy and fulfillment, this fosters someone’s motivation to repeatedly engage in these risky addictive behaviors, such as binge drinking or taking drugs. 


Research states that only when substances are abused, our brains can release up to approximately ten times the amount of dopamine. This rush of feel-good chemicals keeps compelling a person to use, and as a result, fairly quickly, the brain begins to adjust to the dosage of the substance as well as this abnormal amount of neurotransmitters. This is called tolerance. 

Being tolerant of a substance means that higher amounts of drugs or alcohol are consumed to experience the same effects of pleasure. In addition, the other areas in the brain responsible for releasing normal amounts of dopamine when a person is engaging in more modest behaviors, are inhibited from doing so. 

People who do not have an addiction don’t typically realize or take for granted how much the neurotransmitter dopamine is responsible for allowing us to not only feel pleasure but most importantly, to help us make decisions. When the release of dopamine is disturbed, the ability of a person to make good choices is compromised.  


After tolerance comes dependence. A person becomes chemically dependent on their substance of choice and continues to use it to avoid unpleasant physiological symptoms called withdrawal, which occur when the substance is not used for some time. These symptoms include both physical and psychological reactions including, nausea/vomiting, insomnia, muscle pain/weakness, depression, anxiety, hallucinations, etc. 


By now, the body and brain have become fully addicted to the substance used, and a person needs it to function normally throughout the day. The only way to combat this cycle of addiction is to receive professional treatment at a rehab facility.   

Addiction and Mental Illness: Which One Develops and Gets Treated First?

An extremely common question asked for addiction specialists and mental health professionals, is did drinking or taking drugs to cause my mental illness, or did my mental illness cause my addiction? 

This is called the chicken and egg debate. As mentioned before, this discusses which condition comes first, depression or addiction? Experts claim that substance use disorders can mask the symptoms of an underlying mental condition. 

The Chicken or the Egg Debate: 

This chicken or egg debate has been used for a long time to demonstrate the problems with identifying which diagnosis comes first. Medical professionals have been trying to answer this question, but truthfully, every person is different, and therefore, their conditions will be as well. 

During therapy, a psychosocial evaluation helps to determine which condition occurred first. However, sometimes a psychosocial assessment may not be conducted as thoroughly. 

As a result, this lack of reporting and inadequacies prevents addiction specialists from gaining an accurate understanding of one’s medical history to make an accurate diagnosis  (did mental illness already exist, or was it caused by substance abuse). 

You may ask, why is it important to know whether the mental illness first occurred? Someone who has a pre-existing mental condition, such as depression or bipolar disorder, will most likely need extensive treatment. 

However, someone whose mental illness has developed from engaging in addictive behaviors will not need the same level of treatment as someone whose depression preceded their substance abuse. Again, everyone is different.      

Dual Diagnosis Treatment

It is important to note that mental illness if left untreated can cause major health complications and death. The risk for relapse is high, and without professional treatment at an inpatient or outpatient rehab facility, the cycle of addiction will continue. 

Treatment for dual diagnosis and addiction entails medication management, various types of therapy (individual, group, and family), relapse prevention, and other comprehensive resources. We provide our patients with the coping and life skills to best manage and live with their conditions during and after treatment. Long-lasting recovery and sobriety have always been our goals at Granite Mountain. 

You Are Not Alone: We Are Here to Help You Recover

If you are struggling with addiction and mental illness, and are wondering if your mental illness was there all along to jeopardize your recovery, know that help is out there for you! Don’t wait in silence, we understand both addiction and mental illness, and will create an individualized treatment plan that will maximize your chances of a successful recovery. Contact us today to break the cycle of addiction!


mental health stigma

Dual Diagnosis: Understanding The Stigma Surrounding Mental Illness

Today, mental health and substance use disorders called co-occurring disorders or dual diagnosis has become a large topic of conversation nationwide. The most common mental disorders include the following: 

  • Bipolar disorder
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Schizophrenia

The concern is, most Americans don’t treat people who have a mental illness in the same way as other people who are suffering from other chronic conditions. 

A large part of society is quick to judge people who have a mental illness, often causing alienation and discrimination. Also, oftentimes, people reject the fact that addiction is a brain disease that can be treated and managed. 

Anyone who has had experienced mental illness firsthand, either personally or professionally, can tell you that despite the attempt to clear up misconceptions, along with the advances in psychiatry and psychology, there still is a great deal of stigma that remains. 

The Stigma of Mental Illness

Many people believe that addiction is a result of immoral behavior and that people with substance use disorders just choose to continue using drugs or drinking. While there is some truth to that, unlike people with other chronic conditions such as arthritis, those with addiction and mental illness are blamed or criticized in many ways for having these problems.

Unfortunately, negative attitudes and beliefs toward people who have a mental health condition are extremely common. According to the Better Health Channel, Stigma is defined as when someone views a person with mental illness in a negative way. This negative perception often leads to discrimination, where people with mental disorders are treated poorly because of their condition. 

In other words, mental health stigma occurs when a person defines someone by their illness rather than who they are as a person. For example, one may be labeled psychotic or a schizo rather than the person experiencing psychosis or symptoms of schizophrenia. 

Becoming dependent and addicted to drugs and alcohol can happen to anyone. It is not a matter of willpower or lack of morals, it’s a choice that results in consequences. Addiction is a disease that doesn’t discriminate, and neither does mental illness. 

History of Mental Illness Stigma 

The history of stigma surrounding mental illness has dated back to the Neolithic times, about 12,000 years ago (10,000–4,500 BC). People’s ideologies of the treatment of mental illness have not always made scientific sense. 

One of the most common treatments conducted around that time was known to be brutal and inhumane. For those believed to have mental illness or spirits, a hole would be chipped in their heads, as it was thought to release the evil spirits and cure them of disease. 

Today, mental illness stigma is very prevalent, but, treatment methods used to manage co-occurring disorders are taken very seriously and are backed up by years of evidence-based research. 

Prevalence of Mental Illness Stigma 

The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that approximately, 450 million people worldwide suffer from a mental disorder, making them among the leading causes of disability. One in four people will be affected by mental illnesses or neurological disorders at some point in their lives. Mental health stigma is extremely prevalent, as there is a major lack of understanding surrounding these types of illnesses. 

Dual Diagnosis

When there is some sort of little to no understanding, there is neglect. Mental health stigma prevents two-thirds of people from getting the help they truly need. For those with mental illness and addiction, mental disorders are often the part that is left undiagnosed, which is not only dangerous, but can result in severe complications, including coma, overdose, or death. 

Doctor Harlem Gro Harlem Brundtland, Director-General of WHO stated that “Mental illness is not a personal failure. In fact, if there is a failure, it is to be found in the way we have responded to people with mental and brain disorders.” 

Mental health and addiction specialists have been making major strides in bettering the way they are diagnosing mental illness. Technological advances in medicine have allowed for more accurate diagnoses, allowing people to get the help that they need to effectively manage and cope with their condition, in order to properly recover.  

Types Of Mental Illness Stigma 

Assumptions surrounding mental illness only cause turmoil, creating a stigma defined by shame, guilt, and fear. Thus, most importantly, the fear and guilt of having a mental disorder continue to prevent millions of people from seeking the proper treatment that they need to recover and become sober. 

Stigma can also be described as a label that associates a person to a set of unwanted characteristics that form a stereotype. These include the following:

Mental Illness Stigma Stereotypes 

There are common stereotypes and kinds of mental stigma, which result in discriminatory behaviors. They include: 

  • Dangerousness: Individuals with mental illness are commonly perceived as being relatively dangerous. 
  • Incompetence: People with mental illness are usually labeled as unable or incompetent. 
  • Permanence: People tend to perceive mental illness as untreatable. 

Mental Illness Stigma Types

The stigma associated with mental illness can be divided into 6 types which are commonly defined by perceptions and internalization, both of which are very real.

Public Stigma

Public stigma refers to a set of negative attitudes and beliefs that motivate individuals to discriminate against people with mental illness.

Social Stigma

Social stigmas are commonly related to people’s culture, gender, race, intelligence, and health. Society tends to place people into specific categories and groups based on certain characteristics, differences, and similarities. These are defined as the prejudiced attitudes that others have around mental illness. When someone has a mental illness they often feel not part of a group, and as a result, feel alienated or discriminated against by society.


A person with a mental health diagnosis becomes aware of the public stigma placed on them, which in turn, the mind is persuaded to internalize these stereotypes, causing one to agree and believe them. 

Structural Stigma

Societal conditions, cultural norms, and institutional practices that constrain the opportunities, resources, and wellbeing. 

Label Avoidance Stigma 

People who engage in label avoidance refrain from associating with individuals and/or facilities that may place them in a group surrounded by stigma. (i.e. mental health providers and treatment facilities/rehab). 

Courtesy Stigma 

When the family and friends of people who have a mental health problem are also discriminated against because they are associated with them. 

The effects of all these different types of stigma surrounding mental health play a huge role in how people with mental illnesses are perceived, but most importantly, how they perceive themselves. 

Harmful Effects of Mental Health Stigma 

The effects that stigma has on people suffering from mental illness and addiction and their friends and family are harmful and extensive. Stigma means one has a lack of understanding, which can make a person feel invalidated, isolated, and shameful. 

Mental illness stigmas can also lead to discrimination, harassment, violence, and bullying. Lastly, as mentioned before, stigma prevents people from seeking help and receiving treatment, which as a result, their symptoms worsen, and become more difficult to treat. 

Causes Of Mental Health Stigma 

There are a variety of causes of mental health stigma. Everyone’s situation with mental illness or co-occurring disorders, meaning addiction as well as mental health, is unique. Therefore, the causes of each person’s stigma will not always be the same as another individual. The main root or source of one’s mental stigmas include:

  • Fear
  • Anxiety 
  • Guilt
  • Lack of understanding
  • Discrimination
  • Neglect 
  • Societal norms
  • Representation of mental illness in mass media 

How To Cope With Mental Health Stigma

While reaching out for help is encouraged, those with co-occurring disorders, especially the mental health side of it, often feel like they can’t ask for help, because they feel ostracized, ashamed, embarrassed, fearful, etc. 

The power of stigma reaches a whole new level when people have mental illness and substance use disorder. Treatment for co-occurring disorders is neither short-term nor straightforward. It depends on the individual and treatment administered. 

These mental illness stigmas make it extremely difficult, as stigma and the discrimination that occurs as a result, do not begin with a request for help, but otherwise is perceived that help is not obtainable or unavailable to them. 

The toughest thing about sobriety is taking that first step, but, Granite Mountain Behavioral Healthcare is here to tell people that help is available and managing/treating dual diagnosis is possible. 

In general, people can help challenge stigma by speaking up when you hear others around you make negative or wrong comments about mental illness. If you have a mental illness, know that you are definitely not alone. 

We offer educational and supportive resources for people and families affected by mental illness and addiction. It is important to receive treatment to reduce symptoms and have a better quality of life.

At Granite Mountain, our team of highly-qualified addiction specialists prides ourselves in helping our clients learn how to cope with their conditions and the stigma that surrounds mental illness. Tips for coping include the following:

  • Get the mental health treatment you need, don’t let labels stop you. 
  • Try and not believe the myths and stigma behind mental illness. Everyone has problems of their own. It is a sign of weakness and getting help will only help you manage your condition better, and get you on the road to recovery as fast as possible. 
  • Connecting with others and using a support system can help with feelings of isolation and discrimination resulting from stigma, and show you are not alone in your feelings and experiences. 
  • YOU are NOT your illness! Say I have depression not I am depressed. There is a way with words, and they are powerful.  
  • What people say can hurt, but don’t take it personally. It is a reflection of themselves. Remember, sticks and stones. 

Know you are not alone in your fight with mental illness and addiction. The mental illness and addiction specialists at Granite Mountain BHC are here for you every step of the way. Contact us here today to receive help. 



alcoholism and depression

Alcohol Abuse and Depression: Understanding the Connection

In general, we are constantly exposed to the idea of fixing a tough week with a “happy hour” hang out on the weekends, whether it is with co-workers or friends. Binge drinking has been idealized as a way to make you feel better after feeling too stressed out or upset, so it’s no wonder that most people now do that on a weekly basis. Even though drinking a little too much every once in a while could be harmless, it is the link between emotions and drinking according to them that can be a problem if someone is dealing with a mental illness.

It is basically impossible not to come in contact with alcohol nowadays, as most social events involve drinking. So people that suffer from depression will certainly drink eventually, and if they don’t know they suffer from it in the first place, that can put them at risk of alcohol abuse. Yes, addiction doesn’t happen automatically with one drink, but since symptoms of depression don’t go away on their own either, chances are that one drink will be the first of many before a downward spiral.

Alcohol abuse and depression are also connected in the sense that they can feed off each other. Alcohol is a depressant, so as the drinking happens more often and in higher doses, the initial feeling of inhibition and relaxation will wear out and be replaced by sadness, anger, or anxiety. That, added to the other symptoms of depression, can lead to alcohol abuse and the user might not even realize that a disorder is the root of the problem.

How Do I Identify Depression?

Feeling a surge of sadness or feeling down can happen to anyone, and it is a natural reaction to anything sad in life. Having that feeling alone is a way to process bad news, big changes, losing someone, and should not be something to avoid or suppress. But depression is more than that, and one of its signs is if these feelings last for more than two weeks or even months.

If these feelings are somehow so bad that they affect your daily life drastically, that should be a cause for concern. In this scenario, alcohol abuse and depression can be more likely to happen, and will only make things worse. Contrary to popular belief, however, depression isn’t just staying in bed and/or crying or feeling only deep sadness. Some signs to look out for are also:

  • Losing interest in things that brought pleasure (i.e.: hobbies, physical activities, sex)
  • Having a harder time making decisions, big and/or simple
  • Feelings of restlessness or agitation
  • Changes in weight, either losing or gaining too much of it
  • Loss of self-confidence, purpose, and hope
  • Physical aches or pains with no apparent reason and that won’t go away even with treatment
  • Numbness or emptiness (as opposed to feeling too much)
  • Being easily and constantly irritable
  • Not being able to focus or concentrate even in mundane activities
  • Having very low energy and fatigue even without doing much

While not everyone will experience depression the same way or many of its symptoms, being diagnosed is the only way to know for sure if someone might be suffering from depression. Since there are different levels and disorders related to symptoms of depression, getting help will not just identify the problem, but will help a psychiatrist or another health care provider know what treatment should be applied.

Something else that should be taken into consideration is family history with either alcohol abuse or depression or any other mental illnesses. Genes also come into play when identifying what someone is going through, as most of these disorders can often be passed down from generation to generation. Disclose any information you might find important to share, even if there was no official diagnosis of family members you believe displayed characteristics of mental illnesses.

How Can I Get Help?

Alcohol abuse and depression are illnesses that can affect one another, but it is more than possible to break that cycle. It is scientifically proven that cutting down on alcohol consumption can help symptoms of depression, so while they are hard to deal with simultaneously, improvements with one condition can bring on improvements with the other. Even in the case of suffering from other disorders combined, a condition called dual-diagnosis, keeping on with a drinking habit can worsen or accelerate the course of the psychiatric disorder, so any suspicions should not be taken lightly. 

Dual-diagnosis can come in many forms, not just in the combination of depression and alcohol abuse, and almost 60% of addicts suffer from a second psychiatric illness. It is not uncommon, and we at Granite Mountain Behavioral Healthcare have experience and resources to aid dual-diagnosis patients with both disorders. From alcohol abuse to opioids, we have options for many different scenarios, no matter what is being dealt with.

If you or a loved one need to get help for one or more disorders, do not hesitate to contact us. Visit our website and get all the information you need to meet with someone that will answer all your questions and explain everything that we can do to help anyone deal, understand, and free themselves from alcohol abuse, depression, and any other mental illness holding them down.


dual diagnosis

Dual Diagnosis: What is it? Am I a Candidate for Treatment?

What Is Dual Diagnosis?

As the name suggests, dual diagnosis describes patients that have been diagnosed with two different disorders: one being a mental disorder, like depression or bipolar disorder, and the other, a substance abuse problem, which could be alcohol or drugs. Since most people with a mental disorder can have quite easy access to both, it is not unlikely for them to develop a dependence on these substances.

More often than not, a lot of people will actually try to find comfort or a way to numb the pain by drinking or using drugs, so those two walk hand in hand quite frequently. In fact, a national survey done in 2014 revealed that 7.9 million people in the U.S. alone suffer from both a psychiatric disorder and an addictive disorder. According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, 6 out of 10 addicts also have another disorder – that is a 60% chance that an addict is a dual-diagnosis worthy patient.

It is still not possible to say why mental disorders and addictions tend to coincide more often than not, but there are many theories and studies to try to understand dual-diagnosis patients. It seems as though one affects or triggers the other, no matter which one is apparent first. While children and teenagers with psychological disorders (such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) are considered at higher risk of becoming addicted than other children, it seems drug abuse alone can also accelerate the course of mental illnesses. Either can come first when it comes to dual-diagnosis addicts.


Dual-diagnosis patients can be diagnosed with a number of different “combinations” of disorders. Therefore, symptoms will vary a lot from person to person, depending on which substance they are addicted to and which mental disorder they have. While keeping in mind that a lot of symptoms from withdrawal are also common in mental disorders (anxiety, depression, and even hallucinations, for instance), some symptoms or signs to look out for are:

  • Going overboard when consuming drugs and/or alcohol or doing it too often
  • Putting themselves in risky or dangerous situations (especially worse if doing so by impulse)
  • Changing behaviors and routines drastically
  • Noticing symptoms unrelated to the withdrawal of alcohol or illegal substances alone
  • Symptoms that won’t go away after getting treatment for addiction
  • Social isolation or generally avoiding events that used to bring pleasure
  • Family history of either one of the conditions (substance abuse and/or mental illness)
  • Difficulty accepting, starting, or following instructions for treatment
  • Not managing to do daily tasks like proper personal hygiene or groceries
  • Be aware of a change in thought processes: if they become too incoherent, disillusioned, or too dark, bordering or becoming suicidal

It is because so many of the symptoms tend to overlap between disorders that addicts need to receive a proper diagnosis in order to know how to proceed when seeking the right treatment for them. Each disorder requires its own kind of treatment, and not just because they are separate illnesses. One of the main problems is that they affect each other mutually, meaning that if one is not treated correctly, it could bring on symptoms of the other – especially in the case of not treating the mental illness, as it could be the root of the consumption of substances.

Besides keeping an eye on the symptoms listed, in order for you to know whether you might be a dual-diagnosis patient, you might need to visit different types of specialists. While drug or alcohol abuse can be considered a mental illness in and of itself, it requires different approaches to treatment than, say, borderline disorders. For instance, while anxiety can be a symptom of withdrawal, chronic anxiety is different, more persistent, and not just related to substance abuse, so it needs to be treated accordingly.

Treatment and Prevention

Dual-diagnosis cases can be treated in many different ways, and while the diagnoses are an obvious factor to be considered when being treated, other aspects of the patient will dictate which treatment option would be best for them. Age, family history, drug intolerance, type of substance, frequency and amount of use, drugs previously used in treatments – all of this must be taken into consideration.

One of the methods commonly used along with other programs is behavioral therapy. Most of them focus on changing habits and frequent thought processes that might bring a patient to harmful behavior as well. While that alone cannot be the only method applied to help dual-diagnosis patients, it has proven quite effective when included in programs. Additionally, some of the other techniques used are detoxification (when needed), group therapy, and any medical supervision recommended.

Prevention is also possible, and even from an early age. Receiving early diagnosis of a psychiatric illness such as ADHD, anxiety, or depression can help not just to get treated for the disorder, but it can actually prevent the development of a substance abuse problem, as it is almost impossible to prevent exposure. Early exposure, in fact, has proven to be a trigger, so being mindful and careful of that might also lower the risks of someone becoming addicted.

You Can Get The Help You Need With Us

At Granite Mountain Behavioral Healthcare, dual-diagnosis patients can count with all the help they need when getting rid of their substance abuse problem for good. While it might seem like so much work right now, as you have to deal with two different issues, it is achievable. If you have tried methods before and they failed, this does not mean you are hopeless. Relapse is quite common, especially in dual-diagnosis cases, but they are not a sign of weakness – they just mean you need to keep trying.

We will be more than happy to meet with you and find out what your needs are, so we can work on a plan that will work for you. We offer outpatient programs that are essential for anyone who might need to keep on with their routines, no matter the reason. While dual-diagnosis patients need to look out for two different illnesses and seem to have to do double the work, we also offer a special Recover Strong program, which will additionally help with self-image and self-esteem while also providing a way to improve your social life – one less thing to worry about.

So whether you know this program interests you or you just want to hear more about the benefits we offer, contact us today. Visit our website for all the needed contact information. We are here to help: no matter how many hoops you need to go through, we are here to see you get to where you need to be on the trip to a healthier you.


“The Opposite of Addiction is Connection”

An Inability To Connect

In his Ted Talk from TEDGlobal London, Johann Hari makes the statement that, “the opposite of addiction is not sobriety, the opposite of addiction is connection.” This powerful statement is at once a message of hope to those suffering from addiction and an indictment of the way our culture has treated addicts for the last 100 years. Mr. Hari spent three years studying addiction by traveling the world speaking to individuals on all sides of the issues. What he was left with was an understanding that behind and underneath addiction of all sorts is an inability to connect, to engage in a life of purpose. While I do not agree with everything Mr Hari says during his talk, I am passionate about this idea of connection. The most common experience for any addict is a feeling of isolation and inability to connect in a meaningful way with others and the world around them.

Overcoming The Mental Challenges

In order to overcome addiction and transform our lives we need to do many things. First we need to be in a community that encourages connection and commitment. Many addicts find this community in treatment. In this safe community we can take the next step which is to address the root causes of the lack of connection. For many this will be some form of trauma they have suffered which causes their lack of connection. For others it is underlying behavioral or mental health disorders. Therapeutic measures can be utilized to great effect in both sets of circumstances. Once an individual has begun this work the next step is to find a life of purpose that they can show up for. There are as many ways to find a life of purpose as their are individuals. The challenge for many who suffer from addiction is they don’t know how to go about it.

Constantly Seek Purpose

At Granite Mountain BHC we first find purpose in the gym, and in the commitment to our peers not to quit. We build from this initial purpose by drawing parallels from our experience in the gym to the rest of our lives, and by creating meaningful connections within our Granite Mountain community. If I can meet and overcome challenges during the Recover Strong group, maybe I can push through when I’m having a bad day at work, or my relationships are difficult. Our clients are able to transform their lives through the three pillars of commitment, connection and community. At Granite Mountain they are able to experience connection with their peers, staff, and themselves. This connection is at the heart of their purpose as they strive to better themselves and the community they are a part of. After their time with us they are then able to take these three pillars back to their community of origin and continue building upon this foundation, a life of meaning and purpose.

Please take a moment to view this inspiring video, and perhaps re-conceive what you think you know about addiction.


Until next time,

Your friend in service,
Rob Campbell

VP of Communications and Market Development

If you or someone you love is in need of help for substance use disorder please give us a call today. We understand and we are here to help.