Most substance abuse problems stem from having pre-existing mental health issues that were not given much attention by either the individual or the community. Dealing with both is not as easy as it may sound and often requires professional help and treatment to overcome both.
In a report published by the Journal of the American Medical Association, 50% of individuals struggling with substance abuse or addiction have severe mental health problems, and 29% of those diagnosed with mental illness succumb to drug addiction.
This information is vital to know that there is hope, and there is a path for recovery if you or someone you know is struggling with addiction.
What Is Addiction?
Addiction is not limited to substance abuse. According to the American Psychiatric Association, addiction is a complicated situation, which involves the habitual use of a substance despite the adverse effects.
People who struggle with addiction (severe substance use disorder) are deeply centered towards taking or using particular substances, such as alcohol or drugs, without noticing that it is already taking over their lives.
When a person is addicted to something, their brain encounters changes in its wirings, causing them to have intensified cravings for a particular substance or drug, thereby making it hard for them to stop using or taking it. Brain images showed that there were changes in the brain areas responsible for memory, behavior control, decision making, and so on.
Why Do People Suffer From Addiction?
Addiction comes from a variety of reasons. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, they take it because:
- They want to feel good and feel the pleasure of taking or using these substances.
- To relieve stress and to feel better.
- To improve their performance.
- Out of curiosity and pressure from their peers
While their reasons for taking or using these substances are harmless at first, the feeling gives them a specific “high” and makes them crave more. Studies show that most people who struggle with substance abuse are aware of their problems and have taken steps to stop but cannot do so even if they wanted to.
It may be caused by who they are surrounded by, the concern and support from family and friends. The more support and encouragement they get, the easier it will be for them to slowly walk away from the abuse and bridge the path to wellness and recovery.
How Is Mental Health Related To Addiction?
Substance abuse and most mental health conditions, such as depression and anxiety, are closely linked together. However, it is essential to note that the connection does not necessarily mean that one causes the other.
Some people suffer from depression but do not engage in substance abuse, and some engage in substance abuse but do not suffer from a mental health condition. However, one may be the cause of the other if it goes unnoticed or is not addressed over time.
There are instances where people who struggle with mental health conditions use alcohol or drugs because they were undiagnosed. They self-medicate and use these substances as a temporary relief to ease the symptoms they are experiencing regarding their mental health condition.
Unfortunately, this causes significant side effects, and it is where addiction kicks in. They rely primarily on the substance’s impact, and once it no longer works, they opt for a more potent substance or a stronger dose.
The situation becomes worse overtime because a variety of factors causes mental disorders. They may be genetic, may come from the environment the person struggles with, and others.
Studies have shown that substance abuse triggers new symptoms, especially when medications are mixed with alcohol or drugs. The medicines prescribed would be ineffective overtime and would delay the road to recovery.
How Important Is Therapy?
It is difficult to ascertain if a person is only struggling with a mental disorder, or only with substance abuse, or both. It is crucial to seek professional help for them to be able to determine what mental condition you have and what are the appropriate steps to do for them to be able to recover from it.
For an accurate diagnosis, it is best to consult with a professional. They have the right tools and training to assess the situation. At the same time, they can prescribe appropriate treatment for the condition.
Often, those who are suffering from substance abuse undergo medication and counseling. With modern technology, there are also special devices utilized to treat any withdrawal symptoms. After the patient has recovered, it is vital to avoid relapse. Professionals recommend having regular follow-up consultations for better monitoring.
In conclusion, while substance abuse and a mental health condition may not be present in a person struggling with addiction, it is still vital to help them out. It is a vulnerable situation, and they should have someone who supports them in their journey to recovery.
If you are struggling with addiction or other mental health conditions, know that you are not alone, and you can fully recover from the addiction.