How Mental Health and Addiction Work Hand-in-Hand?

Mental Health and Addiction

It is possible for someone with a mental illness such as bipolar disorder, depression, or schizophrenia to turn to drugs or alcohol to help with the changes their minds are experiencing. Research shows it is also possible for drug and alcohol abuse to present various symptoms of common mental illnesses.

Both the mental illness and the addiction need to be addressed in order for the person to get the correct treatment. Drug or alcohol abuse can cause misdiagnoses. It is important to tell your doctor about any drugs you are taking or if you are consuming alcohol specifically to help prevent more health problems and drug reactions.

More often depressed patients will turn to alcohol to mask their mental state. Those with bipolar disorder often turn to alcohol and drugs to help them through the worst of their mood cycles. Many patients with the mental illnesses typically turn to addictions to help them through the symptoms and changes. Research shows that patients with antisocial personality disorder, anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or sleep disorders have an increase risk of turning to drugs or alcohol use.

Alcohol and drug use can cause changes in people’s behavior and brain activity that are similar to many mental illnesses. Research shows that when individuals stop drinking alcohol they can experience similar schizophrenia symptoms. Both alcohol and drug users experience changes in brain activity. This can lead to changes in the users’ behavior and if they have mental illness, changes in those illnesses.

If doctors do not know someone is using or drinking, they maybe misdiagnosed. For a correct diagnosis, it usually takes up to two weeks off alcohol and drugs in order to see the mental illness’ symptoms. Doctors do not fully understand how mental illness and addictions are related, but there is much research being done to figure out how these are related.