Dealing with mental health issues like anxiety, depression, etc., is hard enough, but even worse when dealing with mental health and addiction. Having mental health issues and dealing with addiction is called a co-occurring disorder or dual diagnosis.
The worst part is that these conditions show different symptoms that can impact how you carry out your day-to-day activities. As such, learning how to manage these conditions to ensure you live a normal and fruitful life is vital.
Even worse, if any of these conditions is left untreated, it can affect the other and cause untold suffering. For example, if addiction is not treated, it will likely cause mental health issues. On the other hand, mental health issues are likely to cause addiction problems. Read along to learn more about the connection between mental health and drug abuse.
The Connection Between Mental Health and Addiction
As stated, you’re likely to have mental health issues if you experience drug addiction and vice versa. To better understand the connection between mental health and addiction, look at the below statistics from the Journal of the American Medical Association:
- 29% of all people diagnosed with mental health issues abuse alcohol or drugs
- 37% of alcoholics and 53% of drug abusers suffer from at least one serious mental health issue.
- More than 50% of people with severe mental health issues are victims of drug abuse
Mental health issues and addiction get worse when not treated. You can get support from highly qualified therapists in the LGBTQ and ALL therapist resources. With the right treatment and help, you can reclaim your mental dignity and position yourself on the road to recovery.
Mental Health and Addiction—Which Leads to the Other?
While mental health and drug abuse are closely related, that doesn’t mean that one will directly lead to the other but can worsen the condition. For example, alcohol abuse can worsen anxiety and depression symptoms, while marijuana abuse can cause psychotic reactions.
It’s, however, important to note that some people use alcohol and other drugs to self-medicate mental health issues. Unfortunately, this can lead to drug abuse, especially since they are addictive. In addition, using alcohol and other drugs for self-medicating can worsen the symptoms of mental health issues you intend to treat or lead to other harmful side effects.
Drug abuse and addiction can worsen your mental condition. However, since many factors, including genetics, cause mental disorders, we cannot claim that drug abuse causes these issues. That being the case, if you are at a higher risk of suffering from mental health issues, addiction can increase your chances of getting these conditions.
In addition, addiction can worsen mental health symptoms or even cause new symptoms. Besides, drug abuse can interact with mental health medications, making them less effective.
Below are the possible long-term effects of drug abuse on mental health:
- High blood pressure and stroke
- Sudden mood changes
- Unhealthy relationships
- Episodes of drug-induced psychosis
How Dual Diagnosis is Recognized
Differentiating between mental health issues and drug addiction can be daunting. Both conditions can show almost similar symptoms, although they can vary based on the type of mental health issue and the drug being abused. The general signs you have dual diagnosis disorder include:
- You identify a connection between your substance use and a mental health issue. For example, your mental health becomes worse when you take a specific drug or drink alcohol.
- You become more depressed, anxious, or bored when you’re not on drugs
- You rely on alcohol and drugs to control your feelings, cope with unpleasant situations, or even stay focused.
- There’s a history of mental disorder or drug abuse in your family
- You’ve previously undergone treatment for addiction or mental health treatment, but the treatment failed due to mental complications or drug abuse and vice versa.
Symptoms of Drug Abuse
People can abuse many substances, including opioid painkillers, sedatives, and recreational drugs such as marijuana, alcohol, and cocaine. No matter the type of drug you take, you have a huge problem if it affects the quality of your life. Below are signs you have a drug addiction problem:
- You rely on drugs or alcohol to maintain a certain mood
- Have tried to cut your drug intake without success
- You often lie about the amount of alcohol or drug you take
- There’s a growing concern among your family members and friends about your alcohol or drug intake
- You are ashamed or guilty about your drinking or drug use
- Your drinking and drug use is putting you in problem with law enforcers
- Increased relationship problems at home and work due to drug use and drinking
Mental Health and Addiction—Signs of Co-Occurring Disorders
Anxiety disorders, depression, and bipolar disorder are common mental health issues that co-occur with drug abuse. Here are the general symptoms that these conditions exhibit:
- Lack of interest in daily activities
- Feelings of hopelessness and helplessness
- Loss of energy
- Sleep changes
- Concentrations problems
- Muscle tension and headache
- Trouble concentrating
- Unrealistic beliefs
- Feelings of anger and rage
These signs and symptoms will vary depending on what mental health problem co-occurs with addiction.
Mental Health and Addiction – Where to Get Help?
Dual diagnosis is not the end of life. With the right integrated approach, the problem is treatable. Whether your addiction problem was diagnosed before mental health problems or vice versa, you need to treat both conditions to experience a full recovery.
Treatment for addiction includes detoxification, behavioral therapy, and managing withdrawal symptoms. On the other hand, treatment of mental health problems includes counseling from a qualified mental health specialist, medication, and lifestyle changes.
For best counseling, connect with a qualified therapist or psychologist from LGBTQ and ALL therapist resources. The mental health specialists listed on our website are highly qualified and vetted to ensure they match the required health standards.
Whether you are in Colorado, Arizona, Toronto and many other states, LGBTQ and All resource is your go-to website when looking for a reputable therapist.