Mental health and substance abuse cross over at specific points, with both drugs and mental illness causing delusions, impaired judgment and physical symptoms. A substance use disorder and a mental health issue can manifest suddenly at the same time, without any actual connection. Causation varies so much between people that it’s impossible to say that one causes the other or vice versa.
Drug and alcohol abuse unquestionably makes mental health problems worse, however. Although it might feel like it helps you in the short term, therapy and psychoeducation can help you to see how misguided that thinking is.
Our mental health is thought to be controlled by electrical connections in the brain. Alcohol and drug use tend to cause an influx of these, which feels great at the time but explains why you feel much worse during the comedown. Over time, you can heal your mental health, and therapy can help to retain those electrical connections so they work in your favor.
Serious Mental Illness and Substance Abuse
There’s a striking connection between the most severe forms of mental illness and substance use disorders. A serious mental illness is one that prevents you from functioning socially, professionally or interpersonally.
An astounding one in four individuals with a serious mental illness has also suffered from a substance use disorder. This is significantly higher than the one in 10 people without mental illness who have suffered from a SUD.
Is Addiction a Mental Illness?
Addiction appears in the DSM 5, which is the American medical journal dedicated to mental health disorders. People used to think that addictive behavior was the result of poor choices, but science seems to suggest otherwise. A mixture of genetic and environmental factors makes certain people more susceptible to the disease than others, which disproves any moral theories of addictions.
Young People, Mental Health and Substance Abuse
Drug and alcohol dependence can start at any point in life but often begin in adolescence. Adolescents are more prone to mental health issues and, while their brains are still developing, they’re particularly at risk of addiction. Keep in mind that mental health is as important as your physical health.
Research has shown that people who start any harmful addictive behavior in their teenage years — smoking, drinking, marijuana — are far more likely to struggle with addiction in later life. This was previously known as the gateway effect — which doesn’t go far enough in explaining what actually happens.
When young people use substances habitually, they’re setting up a pattern of behavior that usually requires rehab treatment to break. As such, youngsters’ mental health must be carefully monitored and looked after to give them the best chance of future success.
You Can’t Treat Addiction Without Addressing Mental Health
When performing the initial assessment for each individual, rehab centers must analyze patients for co-occurring mental health disorders. When illness of this kind goes untreated, it creates impulses, thoughts and feelings that make maintaining recovery extraordinarily challenging.
With the help of experienced professionals, you can untangle your mental health and substance abuse struggles. This leaves you free to gain the skills you need in the present to enjoy the future you want to have.
Get Treatment for Co-Occurring Disorders Today
If you’re worried that you might be suffering from a mental health disorder that causes you to abuse substances, call Recovery at the Crossroads; a Jewish drug rehab in NJ at 888-342-3881.