The challenges of mental illness often go hand-in-hand with drug or alcohol abuse. This makes both conditions difficult to diagnose and to treat.
The link between addiction and psychological problems is complex and not completely understood. What is known is that mental illness can increase the risk of drug abuse and alcoholism. Very often, the individual suffering from a mental illness will use a substance to self-medicate and cope with side effects that aren’t being properly managed.
The flip side of this common link is that drug and alcohol abuse can lead to depression, anxiety, and other mental conditions. Very often, untreated addiction and mental illness will propel each other, leading to a self-perpetuating cycle that is very difficult to treat.
Common Mental Conditions Connected With Addiction
Some of the most common mental conditions that are connected with drug or alcohol dependency include:
Anxiety – Alcohol is commonly abused by individuals who suffer from addiction. Often the addiction begins at a young age to deal with the challenges of being in social situations and to overcome feelings of shyness and being overwhelmed by everyday challenges.
Depression – Some individuals begin abusing drugs or alcohol to mask symptoms of depression. This is particularly common in females who have depression.
Bipolar Disorder – Alcohol is also frequently used by men and women who suffer from mood swings associated with bipolar disorder.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder – Substances are commonly used by those suffering from the very difficult symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder that include flashbacks, sleep disturbances, regression, and anger.
Schizophrenia – Hallucinations, delusions, and other psychotic symptoms lead some to drug use to ease symptoms of distress and fear.
Other Connections Between Addiction And Mental Illness
There are also other proven links between addiction and mental illness. These include neuro-chemical and environmental factors. Genetics also play an important role. While the connection between mental illness and addiction is multi-faceted and not completely understood, it is necessary to proactively treat the conditions simultaneously.
What To Do If Your Loved One Is Struggling With Mental Illness And Addiction
A common question that people ask when they have a friend or family member who is struggling with depression, anxiety, or other mental illness and is self-medicating with drugs or alcohol, is “What do I do if my loved one is struggling with mental illness and addiction?” The first step is getting them evaluated to determine the best possible treatment program for them. A one-size-fits-all approach to overcoming addiction is not wise for someone who is suffering from co-occurring disorders.
For effective and individualized treatment for co-occurring disorders in Northern California, call Summit Estate now for immediate help. We’re here to answer your questions and to begin the admissions process.