In fact, there’s reason to believe that there’s a causal relationship between many mental disorders and substance abuse disorders. For example, according to a study published on substance abuse among veterans, 11 percent of veterans who visited a VA treatment facility for the first time met the criteria for a substance abuse disorder. Veterans are also more likely to suffer from mental disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which can lead to alcohol abuse and opioid prescriptions that lead to substance abuse.
A report published by the National Institute on Drug Abuse suggested that there is a reason why people with mental disorders are up to two times as likely to develop substance abuse disorders:
- Certain drugs can cause abusers to suffer one or more symptoms of another mental illness.
- Mental illness may precipitate or hasten substance abuse. An individual suffering from symptoms of a mental illness may attempt to self-medicate.
- Drug use disorders and mental illnesses are caused by overlapping factors; genetic, deficits and otherwise.
Simply, people who struggle with mental health disorders either seek clinical medication or self-medicate with drugs and alcohol. People that get prescriptions for their condition are less likely to develop abuse disorders, but often the medications that they get access to have high abuse potential, creating more risk.
People that self-medicate for their mental illnesses often start early, and the use of drugs or alcohol as a way to escape becomes a natural part of life.
The reverse order can also be true, in which a mental disorder is caused or worsened by the use of drugs or alcohol. For example, some common pairings:
- A study found that cocaine use can cause paranoia and anxiety
- Alcohol and antisocial personality disorder
- PTSD and opioid abuse
The Bottom Line
As the addiction treatment community begins to realize that addiction is itself a mental disorder, the relationship between substance abuse and mental disorders becomes more complicated. The greater treatment community largely lacks a proper understanding of dual diagnosed conditions, so these conditions are still treated separately, or worse–not treated or diagnosed at all. Our dual diagnosis treatment center in Florida is one of the facilities that has the professionals trained to help treat co-occuring disorders concurrently. This type of tamdum treatment provides some of the best success rates.
Get treatment for individuals stuggling with a substance abuse and mental health disorders. Call (855) 976-2776 Today!