Mental Health and Substance Abuse: A Reciprocal Relationship

Mental health and substance abuse are sometimes mutually exclusive but often have a relationship with one another. Mental illnesses such as depression or anxiety can lead to addiction to substances like alcohol or drugs.

Conversely, chronic use of these substances can cause mental diseases such as psychosis or schizophrenia. The article discusses how addiction is treated and what society needs to change in order for people with mental illness and addiction to get better treatment.

1. Mental Illness

Mental illness is a general term for conditions that cause mild to severe disturbances in thought and/or behavior, resulting in an inability to cope with life’s ordinary demands and routines. Some of the most common are:


2. Depression

According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), 16 million Americans suffer from depression each year. Depression can be treated through medications, psychotherapy, or a combination of both.


3. Anxiety

The American Psychological Association reports that 40 million adults in the U.S. have an anxiety disorder, with social anxiety disorders being among the most common types.


4. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

PTSD is a mental health condition that’s triggered by a terrifying event—either experiencing it or witnessing it. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares, and severe anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event.


5. Bipolar disorder

Bipolar disorder causes extreme mood swings. People who have bipolar experience periods of mania, which is a very energized state that may include risky behavior and a decreased need for sleep, followed by depressive episodes where they feel sad or hopeless.


6. Schizophrenia

The symptoms associated with schizophrenia are categorized into three types: positive, negative, and cognitive.

Positive symptoms include hallucinations (most commonly auditory), delusions, thought disorders, and disorganized behavior/speech while the most frequently diagnosed negative symptom is apathy.

Treatment includes antipsychotic medications as well as psychotherapy.


7. Substance Abuse

Substance abuse is a maladaptive pattern of use indicated by the regular use of mind-altering substances, leading to clinically and functionally significant impairment or distress.

The most commonly abused drugs include alcohol, benzodiazepines (such as Xanax), cocaine, methamphetamine, and opiates which include illegal forms of heroin as well as legal prescription medications like morphine, codeine, and oxycodone.

While some of these substances may seem harmless at first glance, for people suffering from depression or anxiety disorders, abuse can actually exacerbate these conditions.


8. Reciprocal Relationship

In some cases, mental health and substance abuse can coexist in a person. In some cases, it may be difficult to determine whether someone has a predisposition for certain conditions or if they have been triggered by drug abuse or other environmental factors.

It may also be difficult to determine which condition is the symptom of the other and which is the cause.


Treatment for Mental Illness

When a person is diagnosed with a mental illness, it’s important to seek treatment from a specialist. In some cases, a doctor may prescribe medication that will alleviate symptoms of mental illness, while psychotherapy can help identify and correct negative or destructive thought patterns.


Treatment for Drug Abuse and Mental Health

Rehabilitation centers not only provide medical care but they also offer treatments like cognitive behavioral therapy, which aims to replace an individual’s harmful thought patterns with more positive and realistic solutions. Not only do many rehabilitation centers offer a safe place for medical treatment but they also help people in transitioning back into everyday life.

If you are looking for a good treatment center, there are hundreds around the country like Ashley Addiction Treatment that offer high-quality care for a reasonable price. Use online directories to find a treatment center near you.

If you are experiencing issues with addiction or mental illness, talk to your doctor about treatment options for both conditions so that you can live healthier and happier lives.

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