It’s no secret that there is a strong link between mental health and drug abuse. Substance abuse can be a way to self-medicate and cope with underlying mental health issues. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, about half of all people with substance abuse problems also have a mental illness.

Mental health problems can range from mild to severe, including conditions like anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and more. People who struggle with mental health issues are more likely to turn to drugs or alcohol to cope with their symptoms. Drug abuse can start as a way to self-medicate, but it often leads to even more serious problems. Contact Alleviant Little Rock at 501.904.4762 today to learn more about the link between substance abuse and mental health, contact Alleviant Little Rock at 501.904.4762 today. Our dual diagnosis treatment can help.

The Link Between Mental Health and Drug Abuse

There are several reasons why mental health problems can lead to drug abuse. People who struggle with mental health issues may turn to drugs or alcohol as a way to:

  • Self-medicate their symptoms – Drugs and alcohol can temporarily reduce anxiety, depression, or other mental health symptoms.
  • Cope with negative emotions  – People may turn to drugs or alcohol to “numb” their sadness, guilt, loneliness, etc.
  • Escape reality – Drugs and alcohol can be a way to escape from reality and its challenges.
  • Fit in with peers – People may use drugs or alcohol to fit in with their friends or be accepted by a particular group.
  • Relieve boredom or stress  – Drugs or alcohol can distract from boredom or stress.
  • Experiment  – Some people use drugs as a way to rebel against authority or push their own boundaries.
  • Manage trauma  – People who have experienced trauma may use drugs or alcohol to cope with the pain and emotions associated with it.
  • Improve performance  – Some may turn to drugs or alcohol to boost their confidence, focus, and other performance-related issues.

For some people, using drugs or alcohol starts as a way to cope with an underlying mental health problem. But substance abuse often leads to even more serious problems. Drugs and alcohol can worsen the symptoms of mental illness and make it harder to manage. They can also lead to addiction, a separate mental illness. Addiction is characterized by compulsive drug-seeking behavior despite adverse consequences. Once someone is addicted to drugs or alcohol, they may have trouble stopping even if they want to.

What Is Dual Diagnosis?

Dual diagnosis is a term used to describe when someone has a mental health disorder and an addiction or substance use disorder. It involves the concurrent presence of a mental health disorder and an addiction. It is important to note that not all instances of substance abuse and mental health issues are considered a dual diagnosis. Such conditions must be diagnosed by a mental health professional and require treatment from both the addiction and mental health angle to be considered dual-diagnosis. The diagnosis is characterized by the presence of both mental health and addiction issues that cause significant impairment to function and directly increase risk for relapse.

Benefits of Treating Both Drug Abuse and Mental Health

It is essential for those struggling with both drug abuse and mental health to seek help from a professional. Both issues should be treated simultaneously for the best chance of success. Treatment may involve individual therapy, group therapy, medication management, and other approaches. By treating both issues at the same time, people can:

  • Develop healthier ways to cope with their mental health symptoms
  • Reduce the risk of relapse
  • Prevent future substance abuse
  • Learn how to manage stress and other triggers
  • Develop skills to create and maintain healthy relationships
  • Improve the overall quality of life

The link between mental health and substance abuse is complex. When both issues are treated simultaneously, people can have a better chance of achieving long-term recovery.

Achieve Long-Term Success at Alleviant Little Rock

If you or someone you love is struggling with mental health issues and substance abuse, getting help as soon as possible is important. These problems can be challenging to manage independently, and they often worsen without treatment. At Alleviant Little Rock, we offer comprehensive treatment for addiction and co-occurring disorders like depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and more. Our caring staff will work with you to create a personalized treatment plan that meets your unique needs. Contact us today at 501.904.4762 to learn more about our program and how we can help you achieve lasting recovery.