Mental Health and Addiction: Are They Related?
Addiction and mental health are closely related topics. The rates of addiction in people with untreated mental health diagnoses is high. Likewise, rates of mental health concerns are significantly high amongst addicts.
There is much debate amongst professionals regarding what comes first, addiction or mental health issues? This may differ according to each individual. However, addiction professionals agree, addiction is common for people who have untreated mental health issues. Likewise, drug and alcohol abuse can cause mental health concerns.
People who have depression, ADHD, anxiety, and trauma are more likely to medicate their symptoms by using drugs and alcohol. Drugs and alcohol have a euphoric effect that can seem to quell the symptoms of depression, anxiety, and trauma. The euphoria from drugs and alcohol is temporary, but it can feel like a solution to mental health problems.
Addiction is a coping tool. Men and women who have been victims of abuse have disproportionate rates of substance use. The reason for this is because drugs and alcohol feel like a good coping tool. When you take a substance, racing thoughts, bad memories, anxiety, and depression can feel relieved. Unfortunately, the mental health symptoms are still there.
Drugs and alcohol can also cause mental health issues. Chronic drinking and drug use can cause dementia related illnesses, substance induced psychosis, anxiety, and depression. Some drugs, like crystal meth and alcohol, are notorious for their impact on the brain. A side effect of chronic drug use is an inability to feel pleasure from normal means. Essentially, the drug impairs the brain’s ability to enjoy the simple pleasures of life.
Drug and alcohol use leads to many physical problems. Illnesses of the brain, liver, kidneys, and lungs are common. Being diagnosed with a serious medical issue can cause depression and
hopelessness. Alcohol and opiates are depressants, so if you take these substances and have depression, the depression symptoms increase.
If you have been prescribed medication for the treatment of a mental health issue, you cannot drink or use substances and take the medication. Substance use affects the medication’s ability to work properly. Drug and alcohol use also makes it more likely to miss doses of medications.
Mental health may not cause addiction and addiction may not cause mental health problems. However, active addiction has no benefits for your mental health treatment. If you are in treatment for anxiety, depression, or any other mental health concern and are struggling with addiction, please seek help.
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