Substance Abuse and Addiction
Many people who are addicted to drugs are also diagnosed with other mental disorders, including anxiety and depression. Some people develop mental health problems related to their compulsive drug use, and some people take drugs in an attempt to alleviate symptoms of mental health disorders. Whatever symptoms appear first, it is important to treat all mental illnesses at the same time.
Mental health problems and substance use disorders sometimes occur together because:
Certain illegal drugs can cause people with an addiction to experience one or more symptoms of a mental health problem.
Mental health problems can sometimes lead to alcohol or drug use, as some people with a mental health problem may misuse these substances as a form of self-medication
Mental and substance use disorders share some underlying causes, including changes in brain composition, genetic vulnerabilities, and early exposure to stress or trauma
More than one in four adults living with serious mental health problems also has a substance use problem. Substance use problems occur more frequently with certain mental health problems, including:
Substance Use Disorders
Substance use disorders can refer to substance use or substance dependence. Symptoms of substance use disorders may include:
Behavioral changes, such as:
Physical changes, such as:
Social changes, such as:
Recovering from Mental Health Problems and Substance Use
Someone with a mental health problem and substance use disorder must treat both issues. Treatment for both mental health problems and substance use disorders may include rehabilitation, medications, support groups, and talk therapy.
The warning signs of addiction include:
Tolerance: Your body becomes accustomed to the effects of the drug and requires larger amounts to achieve the same effects.
Withdrawal: If you reduce your intake of the drug, you experience physical symptoms like nervousness, nausea, tremors, cold sweats or agitation.
Remorse: You feel guilty or sad after you’ve used the drug, even though you take the drug in order to feel better.
Relapse: Whenever you try to stop using the drug, cravings or withdrawal symptoms drive you back to your destructive habits.