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Luann de Lesseps opens up about her PTSD and alcoholism
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Luann de Lesseps opens up about her PTSD and alcoholism

The vagaries of life might not always be as per one’s expectation. Recently, noted American television personality Luann de Lesseps opened up about her addiction and mental problems. In December 2017, de Lesseps checked into an alcohol abuse rehabilitation center after she was apprehended on charges of drunken driving during Christmas weekend. It’s only after the “Real Housewives of New York” star sought treatment for her drinking problem that she was informed about the actual reason behind her uncontrollable drinking habit. During the treatment process, she realized that her accident in 1999 had left an indelible impact on her mind, causing her to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

In an interview with PEOPLE magazine, de Lesseps said, “I came down a mountainside in Switzerland. I thought I killed myself and my children. I never really faced that horrific accident, and through that and everything else, my emotions just crept up on me and drove me to the point of self-medicating with alcohol. People think it’s just about Tom. It’s not just about Tom.” Tom D’Agostino was her former husband.

Prior to her treatment, the reality star was unaware of the prevalence of mental illnesses like PTSD. “I had PTSD, and I didn’t even know it because all those years ago PTSD was not a real thing, especially in Europe. “Nobody had ever heard of PTSD when I had my car accident,” said de Lesseps, who worked in Milan.

Prevalence of dual diagnosis in US

The coexistence of a mental illness like PTSD and a substance use disorder (SUD) is referred to as dual diagnosis or co-occurring disorders. According to the 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), an estimated 8.2 million adults (3.4 percent of adult population) had both any mental illness (AMI) and SUDs in that year. Besides, 2.6 million adult Americans had co-occurring serious mental illness (SMI) and SUDs in the past year.

Studies have found co-existing disorders to be more pervasive in women than men. Since women go through multiple transitions in life, including puberty, pregnancy, and menopause, they are more likely to be afflicted with mental health issues. Emotional distress, if left untreated, often forces women to find solace in illicit substances like drugs and alcohol. Fear of discrimination and social isolation often forces them to avoid getting admitted to rehabilitation centers, which actually exacerbates the problems. The symptoms of dual diagnosis mainly depend on two factors – the type of addiction and the severity of mental illness. The common symptoms of co-occurring disorders are: persistent “down mood,” abnormal sleep patterns, rising tolerance to drug, feelings of worthlessness, and suicidal thinking or behavior.

Dealing with dual diagnosis

Often one problem leads to another. Some people start drinking without realizing that unbridled alcohol consumption might lead to dependence, which gives way to weak psychological health or development of some mental disorder. In some cases, mentally disturbed women resort to the use of addictive substances like alcohol and drug to relieve themselves of emotional issues. Fortunately, dual diagnosis is a treatable condition, provided one seeks professional help at the right time.

Sovereign Health of Arizona offers residential treatment exclusively for women. Dual diagnosis treatment for women at our rehab focuses on issues pertaining to co-occurring mental health substance use disorders. For more information about our dual diagnosis rehab for women that treats simultaneous issues of drug dependence and mental health, call our 24/7 helpline. You may also chat with our online representative for more details regarding our world class dual diagnosis treatment center for women.

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