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The Connection Between Mental Health and Substance Abuse

a person sits on a couch holding their head struggling with Mental health and substance abuse

The connection between mental health and substance abuse has been increasingly recognized in recent years. While neither disorder solely or directly causes the other, both disorders tend to feed off of the other’s symptoms. A significant percentage of people who suffer from addiction have also been found to have an underlying mental health disorder. Separately treating one or the other is difficult and often ineffective. The best way to address co-occurring disorders is through dual diagnosis treatment.

Ashwood Recovery offers a wide variety of addiction, mental health, and dual diagnosis treatment programs. We believe a holistic approach to each patient is the most effective method to ensure a successful recovery and long-term sobriety. If you believe that you or a loved one can benefit from a dual diagnosis treatment, contact us at 888.341.3607 today.

How Are Substance Abuse and Mental Health Disorders Similar?

While substance use disorders are usually treated separately at specialized rehab facilities, they are also classified as mental health conditions. Substance use disorders often behave similarly to other mental health disorders. Here are a few risk factors that are common to both substance use disorder and other mental health disorders:

  • A genetic tendency for the disorder – Substance abuse disorders and other mental health disorders run in families. The chances of manifesting either condition increase dramatically if a close family member has suffered the same.
  • Environmental triggers – Stress or trauma may increase the risk of substance use disorders and other mental health disorders.
  • Mental health disorders increase the risk of substance use disorders, and vice versa – While neither can directly cause the other to appear, one condition may trigger the other if the person is already predisposed to it.

The similarity between the two does not end with just their common roots. There are also similar ways in which both conditions manifest. Namely, both disorders can:

  • Affect the way that a person’s brain functions.
  • Negatively impact social and professional relationships.
  • Result in physical damage to a person’s health.
  • Respond well to treatment.

Is There a Connection Between Mental Health and Substance Abuse?

Apart from similar familial and environmental causes, mental health and substance abuse are deeply connected in the psychological aspect of dependency.

  • The feeling of euphoria that is associated with substance abuse is often the reason why people with mental health disorders turn to those substances to self-medicate. Self-medicating often leads to physical dependency.
  • A physical dependency on certain substances may cause depressive symptoms to manifest or worsen, leading to increased consumption and greater psychological dependence.

Because of this, it is sometimes difficult to assess which are symptoms of a mental health disorder and which are symptoms of substance abuse and withdrawal. This challenge is further compounded by the different interactions of varying mental health disorders with different substances. These sporadic interactions are why simultaneously treating both conditions is often the best method of treatment.

Get Dual Diagnosis Treatment at Ashwood Recovery in Boise, Idaho

At Ashwood Recovery, we believe in holistic healing. Recovering from only one disorder only leads to an increased chance of relapse. Our dual diagnosis treatment is individualized for each patient to give them the best chance at healing. We believe that patients with mental health and substance use disorders can lead full, productive lives with the proper support and treatment.

Recovery from addiction to substances may be dangerous, even without an underlying mental health condition. Recovery is always safest under the supervision of trained medical professionals. If you or a loved one need dual diagnosis treatment, contact us at 888.341.3607 to learn more about how we can help.