Population Most At-Risk for Substance Abuse

Those with Mental Illness are Most Susceptible to Addiction

Many of us will not have an issue with substance abuse or mental illness throughout our lives but some of us are at a higher risk for substance abuse based on the state of their mental health. Those who struggle with borderline personality disorder are particularly vulnerable to substance abuse compared to other types of mental illness. This is due to the fact that their brain chemistry is altered, refraining them from making rational decisions.

Those who struggle with a psychiatric disorder experience tremendous mood swings, unstable relationships, and irrational behavior. In turn, they may turn to drugs or alcohol and a means to cope. An individual who is struggling with a mental illness that is undiagnosed is at particular risk for substance abuse. This is because they are looking for an escape from the symptoms that they are experiencing when in reality, they are making their situation a lot worse.

Getting Help

When you struggling with both a mental illness as well as an addiction, getting the appropriate help is essential when wanting to live a content life. If these issues go untreated, they will continue to worsen over time.

Many people are predisposed to the disease of addiction due to various factors such as genetics, a family history of addiction, hereditary factors, and environmental factors. There are a host of reasons why some people are affected by substance abuse while others are not. Those who grew up with alcoholic parents are a population that is more susceptible to substance abuse than those who did not grow up in such a household.

Knowing whether or not you are at risk for the disease of addiction can help you prevent certain situations that may influence you to use. The population that is at the highest risk for substance abuse and addiction is:

  • If you are a male
  • Underlying mental health disorders
  • Taking an addictive illicit or licit drug
  • No parental regulation or support

Older Adults at Risk

Many individuals associate mental illness and addiction with the younger generation but the truth of the matter is that many older adults develop a mental illness with age and with that comes the increased risk of addiction to drugs or alcohol. Close to seven percent of the U.S. population struggle with Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) and the majority of these individuals are over the age of 33. Through the early detection of depression, those who struggle with mental illness and substance abuse can lessen.

If you or someone close to you is struggling with a mental illness or an addiction to drugs or alcohol, it’s important that they seek professional help. The right treatment program can help you make a full recovery from your addiction while allowing you to properly manage your mental illness. Typically, dual diagnosis treatment is required for those struggling with an underlying mental illness as well as an addiction to drugs or alcohol.


Through working with counselors and therapists throughout the duration of treatment, individuals will have the support and confidence necessary to carry on in their sobriety. The time to get help is now.


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.