It’s common for society to dismiss drug abuse as a character flaw or loss of impulse control. There is a long-standing stigma associated with addiction, as many chalks it up to a simple inability to just say no. When we carefully examine the close link between drugs and mental health, we can start to uncover how substance abuse not only impacts a person’s health, but can quite literally change how a person thinks, behaves, and perceives life. In fact, the two are so interwoven that it’s sometimes difficult to ascertain whether drug abuse is a result of mental health issues, or mental health develops from ongoing drug use. Of course, the answer is not clear-cut. There are certainly correlations, but let’s explore more.
There are numerous reasons why people choose to do drugs. In looking at the link between drugs and mental health we can clearly see that rates of substance abuse are higher among individuals currently battling with an existing co-occurring disorder. Anxiety, depression, and PTSD rank among the most common mental health problems in America, and many suffering are turning toward drugs for relief.
If you or someone you know is battling with mental health issues and drug abuse, it’s important to seek help. AspenRidge Recovery has designed programs to address comorbidity of substance abuse and mental health, and provide the support that aims for long-term sobriety. Contact us today to learn more at 855-281-5588.
What Are The Psychological Effects and How Drugs Affect Mental Health?
When a person takes drugs, they are more at risk of experiencing a variety of mental health conditions. Certain drugs can have different effects on your body and mental health, but they can also cause you to experience similar psychological effects of drugs.
Hallucinogenic drugs can cause existing mental health problems to become worse as they can cause distress and paranoia for the person who has taken them. Similarly, stimulant drugs can also induce paranoia and anxiety, and regularly smoking cannabis can cause depression in some cases.
The National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics reports that there have been over 700,000 drug overdose deaths in the US since 2000. Among Americans aged 12 years and older, 31.9 million are currently illegal drug users (used within the last 30 days). The fact is, drugs are prevalent.
If a person is already suffering from a mental illness, using drugs can enhance the negative feelings that they were already experiencing. This can cause a person’s mental health to worsen, especially if they continue to use the drugs that are further affecting their mental health.
Just because someone doesn’t have a pre-existing mental health condition doesn’t mean that using drugs cannot cause them to experience feelings of anxiety, depression, or paranoia. Regular use of drugs can contribute to causing mental health conditions and worsening them over time.
Common Comorbidity of Substance Abuse and Mental Health
When two disorders or illnesses are present in a person simultaneously or sequentially, they are described as co-morbid. Drug addiction is considered a mental illness because it fundamentally changes the brain’s function. The result is compulsive behaviors that override the ability to control impulses despite the consequences. These are all hallmark symptoms of mental illness.
When we think of co-morbid conditions, there are certain illnesses that frequently occur together. Those can include things such as:
Drugs And Anxiety
It is very common for a person who is suffering from anxiety to experience addiction, especially to types of anti-anxiety medication. If a person is prescribed anti-anxiety medication, it relaxes their whole body as the majority of them contain tranquilizers. The medication can be abused by people to that they feel high.
Alcohol And Depression
A very common co-morbid condition question is how do drugs and alcohol affect mental health. Drinking in excess can provide people with relief from their thoughts, so alcohol is used as self-medication. It is very common for people to use alcohol to medicate depression as it is very easy to purchase, but it can make your mental health worse and affect your health when continually overused.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder & Alcohol Abuse
Post traumatic stress disorder often develops when a person experiences events that cause extreme emotions, or in some cases appear as life-threatening. Some examples of events that may cause PTSD are violent crimes, war, abuse, and car accidents. Due to the nature of trauma, it’s common for people suffering from PTSD to find relief through alcohol or drugs. Unfortunately, substance abuse can exacerbate symptoms of PTSD and the cycle of comorbidity continues.
According to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, up to three-quarters of people who have survived abuse or traumatic events report drinking problems.
Addiction And Mental Health Statistics
In the US, around 40 million people suffer from an anxiety disorder and about 27% of the entire US population suffers from anxiety. Anxiety disorders and anxiety are very common mental health problems that can be treated effectively, but it is important to remember that you are not alone when dealing with these feelings.
It was recorded in 2014 that in 2013, 21.5 million people in the US said that they experienced substance abuse disorder. It was also revealed that about 60% of people relapse during their recovery treatment.
If someone experiences relapse, they should never shame themselves as it is a very common part of the process and they need to be supported.
Experiencing Addiction And Mental Health
When people are suffering from an existing mental health condition, they are more prone to using drugs to help them self-medicate. This self-medication provides people with temporary relief from any issues that they are experiencing, but their use can quickly escalate and worsen an existing mental health condition.
Methamphetamine is a very addictive drug that is often used to increase the brain’s levels of serotonin and dopamine, otherwise known as chemicals that make you feel happy. Methamphetamine is a drug that is often used as self-medication due to the temporary high that is felt after use.
The feelings that people experience after using methamphetamine cause them to become addicted as they constantly look for the same high. That is one of the reasons why it is a drug that is often associated with existing mental health conditions, as it can provide people with temporary relief, but it ends up worsening their mental health and physical health.
Help And Support
Although people who suffer from an existing mental health condition are more prone to experiencing addiction, there are ways of preventing substance misuse. Dual diagnosis treatment is able to support people who are suffering from co-occurring disorders, as they help to overcome addiction whilst also helping to overcome existing mental health conditions.
AspenRidge Recovery offers its clients the opportunity and space to safely recover from addiction and mental health conditions with strong support networks in place. With proven methodology our treatment programs aim to address substance abuse, while simultaneously examining underlying causes or mental health issues that may trigger relapse.
By creating a relapse prevention plan for substance abuse, clients can focus on the aspects of recovery that help drive long-term sobriety. The process includes addressing all of the following:
- Emotional health
- Mental health
- Physical health
Without these three components, it’s difficult to genuinely approach long-term recovery.
AspenRidge Recovery: Addressing Drugs & Mental Health
Addressing drugs and mental health issues is important in defining and achieving long-term recovery from addiction. Finding help that addresses both conditions is crucial. Experienced addiction treatment specialist at AspenRidge Recovery understand the risk factors, symptoms, and treatment options that can help guide a person to sobriety.
Treatment for addiction should address dual diagnosis conditions. Our tailored programs follow proven methodology to address drugs and mental health simultaneously. Our mission to create relapse prevention strategies and plans to help a person live a life full of hope and happiness.
Our Colorado mental health and substance abuse treatment center addresses substance misuse as well as underlying mental health concerns that may contribute to a substance use disorder. Our programs include:
- Day Partial Hospitalization (PHP)
- Day Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP)
- AspenRidge REACH Online IOP
- IOP for Professionals and Working Adults
- Outpatient Program
- Alumni & Aftercare Program
There are many options available for treating stimulant addictions, such as therapy and intensive outpatient rehab. Contact our dedicated treatment providers at 855-281-5588 to find help in overcoming co-occurring disorders today.