The Connection of Substance Abuse and Mental Health

Aug 26, 2023
Connection between Substance Abuse and Mental Health
Substance abuse has been found to have prolonged impacts on the body and the mind. It is important to recognize if you or a loved one is struggling with substance abuse and mental health. Keep reading to learn more about the impacts of substance abuse.

The Connection of Substance Abuse & Mental Health: Seeking Help and Hope

Mental health & substance abuse are two things that have a complex connection, and it can deeply affect the individual if he is dealing with this dual diagnosis. As someone gets addicted to the use of alcohol, drugs and other substances, then these addictions can have prolonged impacts on the body and mind. It can impact one's mental health, so it is important to recognize and find out if you are dealing with these two issues while they are intertwined.

In the case that substances are intertwined, dealing with one issue alone cannot fix the problem. In case you are one of those dealing with such issues, it is important to first recognize this and then stay hopeful and positive that you will get over this.

The Link of Substance Abuse & Mental Health

Substance abuse and mental health is a sort of co-occurring disorder which is also known by another term called dual diagnosis. This is a disorder in which an individual experiences two issues instantaneously. As they are linked together, a person experiencing both these things is in a vicious cycle in which he does substance abuse as a form of self-medication for mental health, thinking that it will help him overcome mental health issues or just give him instant gratification to enjoy. And as he does substance abuse it despite helping him exacerbate existing mental health conditions.

This interaction between drug abuse and mental health is evident from the research, As almost 50 per cent of people with mental health conditions are also affected by substance abuse. And the use of such substances has proven to worsen mental health conditions. And they can also cause a rare mental disease like schizophrenia. 

Understanding this link is crucial in effectively addressing and treating both issues. 

Impact Substance Abuse has on your Mental Health

Talking about the impact substance abuse can have on mental health, we have explained it in some points below.

Anxiety and Depression

Talking about mental illnesses such as anxiety and depression can be onset by the use of Substance abuse. Abuse in the form of drugs is seen to cause changes in brain chemistry, and these changes can somehow increase feelings of anxiety and depression. Additionally, the substance can also exacerbate feelings of despair and hopelessness. And that, in turn, can increase depression. 

Cognitive Impairment

Substance abuse has been linked with causing cognitive impairment. By cognitive impairment, there comes a decline in one's ability to think clearly, make decisions and remain focused on his life goal.

This decline comes up due to disruptions in brain functioning or the direct impact of the substance on the brain. Causing impairment that can range from difficulty concentrating to memory problems.

Risky Behaviors

Substance abuse is also associated with increased attraction towards risky behaviors. These risky behaviors can be driving while on drugs or alcohol, indulging in fights and many more. These behaviors can cause serious physical and psychological consequences, including serious injury or death due to accidents.

Social Isolation

With substance abuse, one thing that occurs most often is social isolation. Substance users want to cut themselves off from the real world, leading to social isolation and withdrawal from the activities they once enjoyed.

Increased Risk for Suicide

Mental illness & substance abuse combinations have been seen to increase the rate of suicides. People on drugs and dealing with mental health conditions tend to lose hope that they will never return to their previous healthy life. And as they live in isolation, they have no one who can listen to their pains and then give them a helping hand.

Therefore as responsible citizens, we must look out for people dealing with such conditions. Whether he/she is our neighbor or relative, or friend, we must help them get out of this issue.

Seeking Help: The Importance of Professional Treatment

Talking about seeking help, here are some benefits of opting for professional treatment. 

Comprehensive Care

As you are dealing with this dual diagnosis, one of the primary benefits that you will get when you opt for professional treatment is that you will get complete and comprehensive care. As they are experienced, they know how to deal with such circumstances of mental health. And they will provide the appropriate care for your condition to help you get well soon!

Evidence-Based Interventions

The other benefit apart from comprehensive care is that with professional treatment, you will benefit from evidence-based intervention. These evidence-based interventions are proven treatments when you are dealing with such a dual diagnosis.

There are two types of evidence-based interventions for co-occurring disorders: cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavior therapy (DBT). With the use of these interventions, individuals can learn the skills needed to cope with their symptoms and manage their substance use more effectively.

Access to Resources

Another benefit that one can get when he opts for professional treatment is that they will get to use and access the resources, which otherwise was not possible. 

For example, With treatment facilities, the professionals offer support groups for individuals dealing with addiction and mental illness. With these support groups, patients feel emotionally stable and supported, and it can speed up the recovery process.

Improved Quality of Life

Lastly, one final benefit of professional treatment is improving your quality of life. As you invest in professional treatment for co-occurring disorders, this treatment will help the individuals develop good coping skills and gain insight into their behaviors to make positive life changes. And with these changes in place, patients will see an improvement in its lift equality.

Finding Hope on the Journey to Recovery

Recovery from co-occurring disorders is really a tough gig. But one thing that can really help you a lot is always to have faith and hope that you will get out of this trouble. As you feel positive about recovery, you will see that you will experience positive changes in the process.

For always being hopeful, two things are most important. One is having a support system, and the next is having a surrounding of only positive people. A support system can help you remain strong in hardships and motivate you in your battle against this disease. And with positive people surrounding you all the time, you will never have that hopelessness as you will see people’s success stories motivating you to fight the disease.