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Understanding How Mental Health Affects Addiction

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According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, an estimated 15 million adults struggle with depression, with an additional 50 million also reported to be suffering from anxiety disorders.

Unfortunately, only a handful of these individuals receive the care they need, with the majority turning to substance use to find relief for their mental health issues. Solving either of these problems will often require a dual diagnosis, failure of which could lead to severe risks for the individuals involved.

Linking Mental Health and Substance Abuse

Modern advances in health and medicine have shown that individuals dealing with anxiety, bipolar disorder, or depression will often struggle with their recovery journey, with the latter often taking a backstep.

This means that people dealing with untreated mental disorders will often use drugs to self-medicate the effects of their underlying issues, with most turning to alcohol or preferred drugs to cope with unresolved emotions or to change their mood.

When this happens, drug use only masks the symptoms that addicts are trying to deal with, with later mental challenges likely to increase consumption of the substance in question.

Another overlooked link between mental health and substance abuse is the likelihood of addiction making mental health problems worse. If, for instance, you are taking medication for any mental health issues, taking your prescribed drugs with substances such as alcohol poses more harm in the long run.

Mood stabilizers and antidepressants often interact with alcohol, making them inadequate for treating disorders such as bipolar or depression. The result could leave you with delayed health recovery, increased mental illness challenges, or trigger undiagnosed symptoms.

In addition to the above, drug abuse will also likely increase your risk of developing mental disorders. While not all addicts have mental illnesses, consuming drugs like marijuana and alcohol may expose you to mental challenges. People who are genetically predisposed to mental disorders have, for instance, been shown to be a risk for this. Abusing opioid painkillers puts you at risk of developing depression, while over-reliance on cannabis use can also lead to schizophrenia.

Warning Signs of a Dual Diagnosis

If you or a loved one struggles with drug addiction, knowing the warning signs of a dual diagnosis is essential. These include:

  • Linked associations of depression or anxiety when using alcohol or other drugs
  • You struggle with anxiety, depression, or mood disruptions when sober.
  • Failed addiction treatment or mental health treatment. This often arises when a dual diagnosis is not identified as one complication often leads to the other.
  • Using drugs to cope with feelings of rejection, pain, or unhappiness. In addition to this, if you use substances to control your mood or to help you cope with everyday challenges that scare you or need help focusing on tasks, you may also be struggling with mental health issues.
  • Family history of drug abuse or mental health disorders

Identifying Mental Health Problems

Numerous addicts will often be in a position to identify one or more signs of mental health challenges ahead of their struggles with substance use, with this often acting as an essential part of helping you get the proper treatment. If you consistently struggle with any of the following symptoms, chances are you need a facility such as Infinite Recovery Drug Rehab Dallas that deals with both addiction and mental health issues.

  • Feelings of helplessness, worthlessness, or hopelessness
  • Change in weight or appetite
  • Lack of interest in daily activities and hobbies
  • Irritability
  • Racing thoughts and rapid speech
  • Increased problems with concentration
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Impaired judgment and impulsivity
  • Anger, increased instances of reckless behavior, and physical pain
  • Insomnia
  • Inability to experience pleasure
  • Hyperactivity


Getting help for the above will often require you to work with professionals trained to handle substance abuse and mental health problems, allowing you to get the best care for long-term success. These may include behavioral therapy, counseling, and medication. Ensure you reach out to experts to help you get the best chance of living an impactful life.

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