The Connection Between Substance Abuse & Mental Health Disorders

mental health female athlete
  • Are you suffering from substance abuse issues?
  • Are you suffering from a mental health disorder?
  • Are you suffering from both?

Well, have you ever wondered if these two issues – mental health and substance abuse – might be correlated? 

Probably not. 

But, research shows that people with mental health problems are highly vulnerable to developing substance abuse behaviors. It is also proven that addiction victims undergo plenty of mental health issues that are not highlighted at first.

So, if you want to find out the accurate correlation between these two phenomena, check out the detox center, Gallus Detox. Browse https://www.gallusdetox.com/locations/colorado/denver-detox-center/ to get more information. 

What Is The Link Between Substance Abuse & Mental Health Disorders?

Many people who acquire substance use disorders also have mental health issues, and vice versa. 

According to multiple national population surveys, over half of persons who have had a mental illness will also have a substance use disorder. 

Even though there are fewer studies on comorbidity among adolescents, research suggests that adolescents with substance use disorders have a high rate of co-occurring mental illness. 

In fact, more than 60% of adolescents in community-based substance use disorder treatment programs also meet diagnostic criteria for another mental illness.

The prevalence of comorbid addictive disorders and anxiety disorders, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, panic disorder, is high, according to recent statistics. 

Mental disorders like bipolar disorder, ADHD, borderline personality disorder, psychotic illness, and antisocial personality also have a high rate of co-occurrence with substance use disorders.

Substance Abuse Or Mental Health Problem – Which Came First?

Self-medicating with alcohol and narcotics is common in treating mental health issues. For example, people frequently abuse alcohol or drugs to alleviate the symptoms of an untreated mental illness, cope with uncomfortable emotions, or change their mood momentarily. 

However, self-medicating with drugs or alcohol has adverse side effects and, in the long term, typically worsens the symptoms it was intended to alleviate.

Abuse of alcohol and other drugs can raise the risk of mental illness. However, it’s challenging to establish whether substance abuse causes mental health problems or the opposite because a fairly complicated collab of environment, genetics, and other factors are responsible for it.

Abusing alcohol or drugs, on the other hand, may drive you over the edge if you are at risk for a mental health problem. 

For example, there is evidence that persons who overuse opiate medicines are more likely to develop depression. On the contrary, frequent cannabis use has been related to a higher risk of schizophrenia.

Abuse of alcohol and drugs can exacerbate the symptoms of a mental health disorder. In addition, substance abuse can worsen or even cause new signs and symptoms of mental illness. 

Antidepressants, anxiety medications, and mood stabilizers can all interact with alcohol or drug abuse, making them less effective at treating symptoms and delaying recovery.

The Importance Of Dual Diagnosis

The importance of dual diagnosis can be challenging to identify when people suffer from so many health issues at once. For example, it takes time to figure out a mental health problem and a drug or alcohol problem. 

The indications and symptoms differ based on substance abuse, whether it’s alcohol, recreational drugs, or prescription prescriptions. Depression and marijuana usage, for example, may present themselves in quite different ways than schizophrenia and alcohol consumption. 

There are, however, some broad indicators that you may have a co-occurring disorder. Ask yourself the following questions, and if your answer is YES to most of them, you must seek a dual diagnosis treatment. 

The questions are: 

  1. Do you use alcohol or drugs to cope with unpleasant memories or feelings, control pain or the 
  2. Do you think there’s a link between your substance abuse and mental health? 
  3. Do you get depressed when you drink? 
  4. Do you drink when you’re stressed or have a lot of bad memories?
  5. Has someone in your family struggled with a mental illness or abused alcohol or drugs?
  6. Do you feel melancholy, worried, or otherwise out of sorts even when you’re sober?
  7. Have you received treatment for your addiction or mental health issue in the past? 
  8. Was it your mental health issue that caused the substance abuse therapy to fail, or was it the other way around?

How To Find The Right Treatment Program?

Check if the program is adequately certified and accredited, if the treatment methods are research-based, and if there is a follow-up program to prevent a recurrence. You should also check if the program has experience with your specific mental health issues. For example, some programs may have treated depression or anxiety but not schizophrenia or bipolar disease.

The essential criteria to choose the best treatment program are:

  • Treatment programs can take several approaches, but there are several crucial characteristics of good treatment that you should seek.
  • Treatment will treat both your substance misuse and mental health issues.
  • You are a part of the decision-making process and actively create goals and develop change strategies.
  • Primary education about your disease and related issues is part of treatment.
  • Healthy coping skills and tactics are taught to help you avoid substance abuse, build healthy relationships, and deal with life’s stressors, challenges, and adverse events.

How To Manage Stress?

You may have figured it out already, but let us state the obvious again.

Most people who develop mental health disorders or substance abuse problems cope with stress.

So, it would help if you learned how to deal with stress in healthy ways, both physically and mentally. But unfortunately, misguided attempts to control stress often lead to drug and alcohol abuse. 

Practice Stress Management Skills

Since stress is an unavoidable part of life, it’s critical to develop suitable coping mechanisms so that you can deal with it without resorting to drinking or drugs. In addition, stress management skills like exercise, yoga, meditation can help you avoid relapse and keep your symptoms under control.

Use The Emotional Intelligence Toolkit

Deal with negative emotions. Many people turn to drink or drugs to mask terrible memories and feelings like loneliness, melancholy, or worry. You may believe that using drugs is the only way to cope with negative emotions. Still, the Emotional Intelligence Toolkit can educate you on dealing with negative emotions without reverting to your addiction.

Make Healthy Life Choices

It’s especially crucial to recognize indicators that your condition is flaring up when dealing with a mental illness and a substance misuse problem. Stressful situations, major life transitions, and lousy sleeping or eating routines are common causes. It’s critical to have a plan in place during these times to avoid relapsing on alcohol or drugs. 

Final Thoughts

Are you still here?

Of course, you are.

It means you have formed a better understanding of substance abuse and mental health issues. If that’s right, nothing should stop you anymore from seeking a dual diagnosis treatment.

However, you can reach us in the comment box for further questions.

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One Response to “The Connection Between Substance Abuse & Mental Health Disorders”

  1. Many people who acquire substance use disorders also have mental health issues, and vice versa.

    According to multiple national population surveys, over half of persons who have had a mental illness will also have a substance use disorder.

    Nice article

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