Mental Health And Addiction Often Coincide

on Thursday, 12 June 2014. Posted in Breaking News

Mental Health And Addiction Often Coincide

Addiction can already be a complex problem to resolve but addicts often suffer from issues of mental health which can compound the situation, making it harder for them to reach a full recovery. Mental health problems and addiction are commonly found in the same individual and the two can interact in a way that complicates substance abuse behavior.

In many cases, mental illness can precede an addiction and be a major factor in the development of addictive habits when using substances. The opposite can also be the case as severe substance abuse can lead to issues of depression and anxiety which become indistinguishable from a mental illness. The relationship between mental health and addiction can make treatment especially difficult as both problems must be addressed in recovery.

Disorders Related to Addiction

There are a few specific mental illnesses that are most often associated with addiction. Issues like depression and anxiety are extremely common among people suffering from drug or alcohol problems. Depression can be a major cause of an individual beginning to drink excessively or seek refuge from their illness with the euphoria of a particular drug.

People with anxiety or panic attacks may try to find relaxation in abusing alcohol which can temporarily ease their stress levels. Other more severe mental illnesses can also be associated with addiction like bipolar disorder or schizophrenia. People with bipolar disorder can have very intense mood swings that can either be extreme lows or highs.

They may turn to drugs or alcohol to even out their mood and soften the blow of their mood disorder. Schizophrenia can involve symptoms like hallucinations and delusions that create a lot of distress and may lead a person to use drugs to alleviate their fear and anxiety.

Drug Use and Mental Illness Symptoms

The problem with so many people suffering from mental illness turning to drugs as a solution is that addiction can actually make their situation much worse. The relationship between addiction and mental health problems works both ways so that people often develop illnesses as a result of their drug use.

This indicates that drug or alcohol use can actually create the symptoms of things like depression, anxiety or even bipolar disorder. When a person already has an illness, their drug use can exacerbate their symptoms and their addiction becomes strongly connected to their mental health.

Alcohol and drugs cause changes in the brain that can lead to personality and mental disorder symptoms or more severe symptoms. The longer a person uses drugs and alcohol while they have a mental illness, the harder it will be for them to quit their abuse.

Mental Illness And Addiction

The reality about mental illness and addiction is that as much as fifty percent of those with an addictive disorder also have a psychiatric disorder. Since the problem is so common in addiction recovery, there are options for people to treat both issues simultaneously so that they stand a better chance of eliminating their substance abuse problem.

The symptoms of their mental disorder need to be treated effectively so that they are not constantly seeking drugs or alcohol to alleviate their stress and anxiety. With proper treatment, it is possible for addicts to resolve both issues and make a complete recovery.  

photo credit: hurleygurley via photopin cc

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