The Relationship Between Mental Health and Addiction

The State of Your Mental Health Can be the Foundation of Your Addiction

Studies have shown that there is a strong connection between mental illness and addiction. According to the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), 69 percent of those who suffer from an underlying mental illness also suffer from alcohol abuse, drug abuse, or addiction to illicit or prescription drugs. Dual diagnosis treatment, then, is an option that can help treat both the mental illness as well as the addiction, whether it is to drugs or alcohol.

What is Dual Diagnosis Treatment?

Dual diagnosis treatment aims to treat and manage both the mental health disorder as well as the addiction or substance abuse problem. Oftentimes, mental health issues are the driving force behind the addiction. By treating both conditions, patients are better able to attain life-long sobriety.

Some types of mental illnesses that individuals may suffer from are:

  • Clinical depression
  • Anxiety attacks
  • Mood swings
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Schizophrenia
  • ADHD
  • PTSD

If you suspect that you may be struggling with an undiagnosed mental health illness, undergoing a psychiatric evaluation will help in determining if there is an underlying mental health issue. The reasoning for co-occurring disorders could be explained by factors such as a chemical deficiency or genetics.

The Problem With Self-Medication

It’s not uncommon for those who are suffering from a mental health disorder to self-medicate. What this means is that the individual resorts to using drugs and/or alcohol in order to suppress the pain and/or struggles that they are enduring. For example, if someone suffers from anxiety when they are in social settings, they may resort to drinking in order to ease the anxiety and uneasiness, therefore, ‘self-medicate’ in order to handle the situation. The sad thing is that this is a vicious cycle that does nothing to help the real problem: the mental health issue. Individuals who go without help will become dependent on a substance of abuse in order to cope with their struggles which is a dangerous habit.

Continuing to self-medicate will simply create more problems and worsen the complications that are already present. The longer that you continue on this dangerous path, the worse your mental health and addiction will become. It’s important that you get the necessary help in order to make a full recovery.

Poor Mental Health Triggers Addiction

When an individual is struggling with a mental health disorder, it may trigger and intensify their addiction. This is why it is imperative to treat the root cause of the issue, in this case, the mental health issue, prior to treating the addiction. This will lay a solid foundation for recovery.

Co-occurring disorders, as dual-diagnosis is often referred to as, can be managed and treated with the right recovery program. Without proper help, patients will continue to lack the ability to lead a normal and productive life. To add insult to injury, when a mental health disorder is not treated, the substance abuse and addiction problems are exacerbated.

Seeking Treatment

The shocking reality is that one in four adults suffer from a mental health illness that is debilitating in nature. In turn, this takes a toll on the individual’s ability to hold a steady job, keep a relationship, or maintain a regular and steady home life. Comprehensive treatment for both mental health and addiction is available.

As soon as the proper diagnosis is made, treatment can focus on both the mental illness as well as the addiction. If the mental illness goes untreated, the alcohol or drug abuse will continue to worsen.

If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.

About the Author

is a proud alumni member of WhiteSands Treatment. After living a life of chaos, destruction and constant let downs, Mark was able to make a complete turnaround that sparked a new way of life. He is serious about his recovery along with helping others. At WhiteSands Treatment, we offer support to you in your homes or when you are out living in your daily lives.