How Mental Health and Addiction Are Linked : It’s an unfortunate reality that many serious problems go hand in hand. It’s all too common for those suffering from mental health problems to also have issues with substance abuse.
There are links between alcohol and mental illness, and it’s important to understand these connections. Struggling with these issues can already be difficult, and having to work through two different disorders at once can be staggeringly hard.
Understanding the link between the two problems can better help struggling individuals to overcome and to live happy lives. Read on, and we’ll walk you through what you need to know.
The Link Between Alcohol and Mental Illness
Is there a connection between substance abuse and problems of the mind? It certainly seems so. 50% of individuals that suffer from mental illnesses also struggle with substance abuse issues– a very high percentage.
Why? Alcohol and various substance abuse don’t cause mental illness. They are, however, often used as coping tools by those who are suffering from illnesses ranging from depression to bipolar disorder. These substances are used to alter moods and suppress emotional pain.
Unfortunately, abusing substances like alcohol can actually serve to worsen the same symptoms they were intended to relieve over time. Alcohol and other substances can mix with antidepressants and create potentially damaging side-effects.
There is some evidence that suggests that substance abuse can help to ‘trigger’ mental issues in people who are at risk of developing these illnesses. Further research is still being done.
Struggling With Co-occurring Problems
For those dealing with mental illness or substance abuse issues, it can be initially difficult to pull the two simultaneously existing issues apart. The signs of symptoms of both problems, at first glance, can be startlingly similar.
For a person struggling, it’s important to look into the motivation of actions. Often, analyzing personal motivation can help pinpoint the source of the issue.
For example, if a person drinks to avoid painful emotions or to cope with unpleasant thoughts, the drinking problem might be a result of larger mental health issues.
Looking at family histories can also provide big hints. If there’s a history of substance addiction or mental health issues in one’s genetic line, it can mean that an individual might be more predisposed to these problems.
Steps An Individual Can Take
A person struggling with either issue has a long road to recovery in front of them. First and foremost, an individual needs to come to terms with the problems they are facing. Denial is common in people with a substance abuse issue, and it may take a long time before they’re willing to accept they have a problem.
That acceptance is key to what comes next, which can be a long and hard process of detox and recovery. There are a number of dual diagnosis treatment centers out there that can help people who are struggling with multiple issues at once.
With the right kind of help, a person can get back on their two feet and live a stable life once again.
Mental Health and Substance Abuse
The link between alcohol and mental illness is still being explored, but it’s clear that poor mental health and substance abuse often go hand-in-hand. The above information should help to further clarify the link between the two issues.
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