Introduction | National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
People who have substance use disorders as well as mental health use interferes with functioning at work, at school, and in social relationships. However, some typical patterns do emerge among those with co-occurring disorders. The Connection Between Substance Abuse & Mental Illness . While psychiatric disorders and substance use disorders can co-occur as independent disorders. Co-occurring disorders, such as substance use disorders also.
And when alcohol or drug abuse increases, mental health problems usually increase too. Co-occurring substance abuse problems and mental health issues are more common than many people realize. According to reports published in the Journal of the American Medical Association: Roughly 50 percent of individuals with severe mental disorders are affected by substance abuse.
Of all people diagnosed as mentally ill, 29 percent abuse either alcohol or drugs. There are things you can do to conquer your demons, repair your relationships, and start enjoying life again. Substance abuse or the mental health problem?
Substance abuse and mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety are closely linked, and while some substance abuse can cause prolonged psychotic reactions, one does not directly cause the other. Alcohol and drugs are often used to self-medicate the symptoms of mental health problems.
Common Comorbidities with Substance Use Disorders
People often abuse alcohol or drugs to ease the symptoms of an undiagnosed mental disorder, to cope with difficult emotions, or to temporarily change their mood. Unfortunately, abusing substances causes side effects and in the long run often worsens the symptoms they initially helped to relieve. Alcohol and drug abuse can increase the underlying risk for mental disorders. Mental disorders are caused by a complex interplay of genetics, the environment, and other outside factors.
If you are at risk for a mental disorder, abusing alcohol or illegal or prescription drugs may push you over the edge. There is some evidence, for example, that certain abusers of marijuana have an increased risk of psychosis while those who abuse opioid painkillers are at greater risk for depression.
Alcohol and drug abuse can make symptoms of a mental health problem worse. Substance abuse may sharply increase symptoms of mental illness or even trigger new symptoms.
Abuse of alcohol or drugs can also interact with medications such as antidepressants, anti-anxiety pills, and mood stabilizers, making them less effective at managing symptoms. Do I have a substance abuse and co-occurring mental health problem?
It can be difficult to diagnose a substance abuse problem and a co-occurring mental health disorder. It takes time to tease out what might be a mental disorder and what might be a drug or alcohol problem. The signs and symptoms also vary depending upon both the mental health problem and the type of drug being abused.
For example, the signs of depression and marijuana abuse could look very different from the signs of schizophrenia and alcohol abuse. However, there are some general warning signs that you may have a co-occurring disorder: Do you use alcohol or drugs to cope with unpleasant memories or feelings, to control pain or the intensity of your moods, to face situations that frighten you, or to stay focused on tasks?
Have you noticed a relationship between your substance use and your mental health? For example, do you get depressed when you drink?
Has someone in your family grappled with either a mental disorder or alcohol or drug abuse? Co-occurrence of psychiatric disorders and substance use disorders may be even higher among incarcerated individuals and those in treatment centers. Cannabis use has been associated with an increased risk of psychotic disorders in a dose-dependent manner.
The Connection Between Substance Abuse and Mental Illness
Additionally, psychiatric symptoms can emerge during multiple stages of use - like extreme intoxication and withdrawal - from certain psychoactive substances. There is evidence to support that the use of certain psychoactive substances can trigger the underlying biological vulnerability for psychiatric disorders.
Such observations have been made in the genetic and biochemical studies that have explored the underlying mechanisms of emergence of psychiatric disorders among individuals with drug use disorders.
Additionally, the mental health complications associated with alcohol and drug use could act as a stressor and contribute to the emergence of psychiatric issues like depressive disorder and anxiety disorders. It has been documented that use of alcohol and other drugs can worsen the psychiatric symptoms and even induce re-emergence of the symptoms among those who are in remission. Substance Abuse May Be an Attempt to Escape the Symptoms of Mental Illness The self-medication hypothesis of drug use among patients with psychiatric disorders states that individuals with psychiatric disorders may attempt to reduce their 'tension' by using psychoactive substances.
For example, those with social anxiety disorders may resort to alcohol use in order to address the anxiety experienced while interacting with others.
Similarly, individuals experiencing distressing symptoms such as auditory hallucinations may use substances to avoid the distress. Some individuals also report the use of psychoactive substances in order to manage the adverse effects associated with psychiatric medicines prescribed for the treatment of the underlying mental health condition. Self-medication in anxiety disorders has been associated with a substantial risk of developing a substance use disorder.
If you or someone you love is suffering from a mental health condition that has caused their drug use to spiral out of control, or alternatively, drug use is causing depression or anxiety, you need help today. Our treatment support providers can help you find a treatment program that addresses both conditions simultaneously, please call Who Answers?Mental Health Leading to Substance Abuse Disorders - Psychology 101
Substance Abuse and Mental Illness Share a Common Cause There is a growing body of evidence that suggests that psychiatric disorders and substance use disorders might share a common etiology. It has been postulated that common genetic factors might be shared across the psychiatric disorders and substance use disorders.
For example, a common genetic susceptibility may explain dopamine dysregulation in substance abuse and mental illness. Various environmental factors are also shared across psychiatric disorders and substance use disorders.
Early childhood trauma, stress and early exposure to psychoactive substances have been identified as predisposing factors for both psychiatric disorders and substance use disorders.
Similar brain regions have also been implicated in the development of psychiatric disorders and substance use disorders. Neurological mechanisms involved in stress response and dopaminergic regulation have been identified as precipitating factors in both psychiatric disorders and substance use disorders.
Substance Abuse and Mental illness Maintain Each Other While psychiatric disorders and substance use disorders can co-occur as independent disorders in the same individual, in a subset of a dually diagnosed population these two sets of disorders also contribute to the maintenance of each other.
As mentioned, theory would predict that those with a psychiatric disorder may resort to substance use as self-medication. However, the excessive and prolonged use of the psychoactive substance can then contribute to sustenance or relapse of a psychiatric disorder.