The Link Between Substance Abuse and Mental Health

The Link Between Substance Abuse and Mental Health

When you are struggling with both substance abuse and mental health such as depression, bipolar disorder, or anxiety, this is referred to as dual diagnosis. Managing substance abuse, alcoholism, or drug addiction is simple, but it gets much more difficult when you’re also battling with mental health issues.

In dual diagnosis, both the mental health issue and the drug or alcohol addiction have their own special symptoms that might impede your capacity to perform at work or school, maintain a steady home life, handle life’s difficulties, and connect with others. When a mental health issue goes untreated, the substance abuse issue deteriorates. Also, when alcohol or drug abuse increases, mental health issues generally increase as well.

substance abuse and mental health

substance abuse and mental health

Dual diagnosis issues are more common than many individuals realize. According to reports:

  •   Approximately 50% of individuals with extreme mental disorders are affected by substance abuse.
  •   37% of alcohol abusers and 53 percent of drug abusers also have at least one serious mental illness.
  •   Out of all individuals diagnosed as mentally sick, 29% abuse alcohol or drugs.

Since substance abuse issues and mental health issues don’t get better when they’re disregarded — as a matter of fact, they are probably going to deteriorate — it’s important to know that you don’t need to have this impression. There are things you can do to overcome your weaknesses, mend your connections, and begin the journey to recovery. With the right help, self-improvement, and treatment, you can beat a co-occurring disorder, recover your identity, and get your life in the groove again.

Which comes first: Substance abuse or mental health issues?

Substance abuse and mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety are firmly connected, although one can’t be said to directly cause the other. Abusing substances such as cannabis or methamphetamine can cause psychotic responses, while alcohol can escalate depression.


Alcohol and drugs are mostly used to soothe the symptoms of mental illnesses. Individuals abuse alcohol or drugs to calm the symptoms of an undiscovered mental disorder, to cope with difficult feelings, or to change their mind-set for a while. Tragically, self-curing with drugs or alcohol causes aftereffects and over the long term deteriorates the symptoms they at first helped to ease.

Alcohol and drug abuse can increase the hidden gamble for mental disorders. Since mental health issues are brought about by a perplexing interaction of hereditary disorders, the environment, and different elements, it’s difficult to say if abusing substances directly causes these illnesses. Nevertheless, if you are at risk of developing a mental health issue, abusing alcohol or drugs might drive you past the brink. For instance, there is some proof that people who abuse narcotic pain relievers are at more serious risk of depression and cannabis use has been connected to an increased risk for schizophrenia.

Alcohol and drug abuse can make symptoms of a mental health issue more regrettable. Substance abuse may forcefully increase symptoms of mental illness or trigger new symptoms. Abuse of alcohol or drugs can also collaborate with prescriptions like antidepressants, anxiety meds, and temperament stabilizers, making them less viable at calming symptoms and deferring your recovery.

substance abuse and mental health

substance abuse and mental health

How is dual diagnosis discovered?

Recognizing a dual diagnosis can be difficult. It requires enough time to coax out what may be a mental health disorder and what may be a drug or alcohol issue. The signs and symptoms also change contingent on both the mental health issue and the sort of substance being abused, whether its alcohol, sporting drugs, or medical prescriptions. For instance, the signs of depression and cannabis abuse could appear to be different from the signs of schizophrenia and alcohol abuse. Notwithstanding, there are a few general admonition signs that you might have a co-occurring disorder:

  •   Do you use alcohol or drugs to cope with undesirable memories or sentiments, to control torment or the force of a reaction, to confront circumstances that alarm you, or to keep focused on assignments?
  •   Have you discovered a connection between your substance intake and your mental health? For instance, do you get depressed when you drink? Or maybe drink when you’re feeling restless or tormented by terrible memories?
  •   Has somebody in your family struggled with either a mental disorder or alcohol or drug abuse?
  •   Do you feel depressed, restless, or generally out of equilibrium when you’re sober?
  •   Have you recently been treated for either addiction or a mental health issue? Did the substance abuse treatment fizzle due to difficulties from your mental health issue or the other way around?

At first, the symptoms of conditions like depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, or PTSD can be terrifying, so you might attempt to overlook them and trust they will disappear. On the other hand you might be embarrassed or scared of being seen as feeble if you admit to having an issue.

However, substance abuse and mental health issues can happen to any of us. What’s more, admitting that you have an issue and looking for help is the first step to recovery.

If you are looking for closure, talk to the Addiction Recovery Center in Auburn. We will walk with you and make sure you get your life back on track.

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