Mental Illnesses and Addiction

There is a strong link between addiction and other types of mental illness. It’s not unusual for substance abusers to struggle with other issues like anxiety, depression or bulimia. Having two separate health problems at once is known as comorbidity. In 2014, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, almost 8 million adults in the U.S. had a dual diagnosis.

People who have at least one mental disease are doubly at risk for addiction; people who abuse drugs or alcohol are twice as likely to have a mood disorder. Plainly, the two go hand in hand. Read these statistics concerning Americans who have ever been diagnosed with a mental disease of any kind:

• They consume 69 percent of all the alcohol in the U.S.
• They use 68 percent of all the tobacco in the U.S.
• They use 84 percent of all the cocaine in the U.S.

Addiction is a chronic, progressive brain disease that requires professional help for recovery. Not so long ago, caregivers tackled addiction first and underlying mental issues later. Experts now know that they are intertwined. For treatment to be effective, all existing problems must get equal care and attention at the same time.

Detox is just one example of how that works. Addicts can rarely withdraw from a drug on their own even if they have the willpower and good intentions. Cravings, physical discomfort and emotional upheaval all at once are simply overwhelming. That’s why a qualified detox facility has a caring staff of medical doctors, nutritionists and counselors to monitor your body as well as your mood. United Drug Rehab center offers a safe and intensive detox program that will help you or your loved one properly detox from the addiction.

Trying to pinpoint whether the addiction or mental disease came first is futile. Likewise, one doesn’t trigger the other. A better way to understand it is that each fuels the other. Also, some drugs worsen the symptoms of certain mental diseases like paranoia or schizophrenia.

Some of the factors involved in comorbidity are given below.


You’re far more likely to have mental issues and addiction if there’s a history of either in your family.


Let’s say you suffer from depression. This may be due to a shortage of the brain chemical dopamine. Dopamine allows you to experience happiness. Since some drugs mimic dopamine and make a user feel euphoric, even small, infrequent doses could lead to addiction. They “tell” your body to up your supply of dopamine. Ironically, the crash from those drugs leads to even greater depression than before.

Other brain abnormalities may have been present when you were born. They could have developed later if you had head trauma or started using drugs before your brain fully matured in adulthood.

Environmental Factors

Addiction and mental disorders share many of the same risk factors. Traumatic events beyond your control – your parent’s divorce, violence, a serious car accident or sexual abuse – increase the likelihood that you’ll develop both a mental illness and a substance abuse problem. Trauma and addiction damage brain circuits in eerily similar ways.

Fortunately, co-occurring disorders are treatable. Many others like you or your loved one are now living productive, fulfilling lives.

Your problems call for compassionate, comprehensive care. In a professional rehab center, one-on-one therapy will delve into the causes of your comorbidity. Your unique addiction and circumstances will be the basis for a customized treatment plan. Behavioral therapy, peer groups, family counseling and long-term support are available. You’ll learn coping strategies to manage your mental disease and avoid relapse.

Lives and relationships can be reclaimed. Treating mental illness and addiction is a lifelong process. If you’re reading this for yourself or with a loved one in mind, you’ve already taken the most important step. The next step is to contact the professionals at Right Path Drug Rehab to get the help you or your loved one needs.

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