Addiction is a global problem that many governments are struggling to solve. Government officials design and execute addiction awareness campaigns to prevent this problem because addiction has widespread health issues in addition to economic and financial repercussions.
Most people initially consume a drug for recreational purposes or peer pressure. However, some people use alcohol and other substances to deal with grief, stress, financial issues, or mental illness like post-traumatic stress disorder. Moreover, glorification of drugs in the mainstream media and growing up around someone addicted to drugs can also lead to addiction. Alcohol, cannabis, cocaine, and meth are the most commonly consumed and abused drugs in the US.
Excessive consumption of any harmful substance can lead to addiction, negatively impacting a person’s mental and physical health. Physical impacts of addiction include stroke, organ damage, and even death. Addiction can also trigger underlying mental illnesses or lead to the development of new mental health issues. Moreover, it can change the patterns in your brain, leading to long-term mental health issues. Therefore, no one should not take drug and alcohol consumption lightly.
However, if you are dealing with addiction, there is still hope. Drug rehab facilities across the US provide treatment for addiction and related problems. Various reputable facilities like the Delphi health group provide individual treatment options to people dealing with addiction. They also help patients recover from the mental health problems that led to addiction or the mental health problems that resulted from addiction.
In this article, we are going to discuss some ways that addiction and mental health disorders go hand in hand.
How do mental health and addiction go hand in hand?
If someone is dealing with addiction and mental health problems at the same time, it is called a dual diagnosis. Many scientists have reported that mental illness can lead to addiction, and addiction can lead to mental health issues like anxiety and psychosis. The vicious cycle of these co-occurring conditions can continue unless you seek treatment. Another reason why mental illnesses and addiction co-occur is that both the conditions have similar risk factors or triggers, which are as follows;
- Family genetics
Now let’s discuss some other reasons why addiction and mental health disorders go hand in hand.
Self-Medication for Mental Health Problems Can Lead to Addiction
Self-medication can provide you with temporary relief from your mental health problems. However, it is damaging to your mental and physical health in the long run. Self-medication includes consuming alcohol, opioids, nicotine, food, or recreational drugs in excessive quantities. Many people don’t even realize that they are dependent on a substance to deal with their mental struggles. Some signs that can help you identify your addiction are;
- Your problems remain the same or get worse
- You turn to the addictive substance whenever you feel the symptoms of your mental illness
- You start consuming a higher dose of the addictive substance with each passing day
- People around you start noticing and worrying about your substance abuse
Stress, Anxiety, and Depression can lead to addiction
Everyone’s life has some ups and downs. People struggle, feel stressed, or sad and consider it a normal part of life. However, some people resort to unhealthy habits to deal with any form of stress in their life. For example, people may start consuming alcohol to deal with stress, but they easily become addicted before they even know it.
Similarly, people often take anti-depressants and anti-anxiety pills to deal with their condition or ease the symptoms. However, taking more than the recommended dosage can lead to dependence.
Addiction is a Mental Disorder
Addiction is classified as a mental disorder that can give rise to new mental problems. Some of the effects of addiction on mental health include;
- Memory loss
- Neurological Problems
A milder level of addiction can cause anxiety and depression. However, people heavily dependent on drugs can lose touch with reality. They claim to see and hear things that don’t exist. Frequent hallucinations and delusions can lead to psychosis, which is a serious mental problem. Prolonged psychotic episodes require immediate medical attention and can be life-threatening.
Some drugs like cocaine can increase your level of stress. However, despite all the mental impacts of substance abuse, people can’t stop because of the split-second pleasure they get when they are consuming drugs.
Addiction Rewires the Brain
Drugs have chemical structures that can interfere with the natural communication system, also known as the nervous system, of the body. Most drugs can mimic the structure of a natural neurotransmitter and stimulate the release of dopamine in the body. It creates a neural link in your brain. When you keep consuming drugs, that link in your brain strengthens, and you want to continue the behavior for the dopamine boost.
However, drugs also stimulate the release of other hormones in our body that can possibly lead to negative behavior. Repeated drug consumption rewires the brain, and these new connections lead to negative behavior and outcomes that can impact mental health in the long run.
Treatment Options for a dual diagnosis
Various treatment options are available for a dual diagnosis. Doctors use a combination of different medicines, behavioral therapy, and other mental counseling techniques to treat those patients. However, data shows that patients with a dual diagnosis have a higher chance of leaving the treatment mid-way or not following the treatment plan effectively.
Therefore, it is crucial for these patients to join a support group to stay motivated to continue their recovery journey. Or you can get yourself into the best rehab centers like the burbank rehab centers where you are offered not just treatment, but also complete support and counseling needed in any way to you and your loved ones. And a support group with people facing similar addiction issues there and the home-like environment offered to you also helps you keep away the feeling of being institutionalized and thus, assists in speedy recovery.
Moreover, such patients are also encouraged to develop healthy relationship bonds with friends and family members so they can turn to them in times of stress instead of addictive substances. Moreover, developing healthy mechanisms to deal with any problems in life can prevent relapsing. If mental problems are the reason behind addiction, a psychiatrist can help treat the root problem.
The Bottom Line
People can start consuming drugs to deal with certain mental issues like stress, anxiety, and depression. Similarly, mental health problems like PTSD can lead people to abuse substances like alcohol, cocaine, and other drugs. Therefore, addiction and mental health issues are cyclic problems because one can lead to the development of the other.
There are various treatment options available for this co-occurring disorder. Seeking help can help you get sober and live a decent life. Hopefully, this article will help you understand the ways addiction and mental health disorders go hand in hand.