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Why Are Mental Health and Substance Abuse Often Linked?

Man looking into mirror and thinking about the link between mental health and substance abuse

Mental health and substance abuse are often linked. Mental health issues can affect many people who struggle with addiction—in fact, addiction itself is a diagnosable mental health condition. However, addiction and mental health issues separate from it can co-occur in one person. This is called a dual diagnosis case. If this situation sounds familiar, call 816.208.8106 to speak with someone from the caring and knowledgeable team at DeNovo Recovery about the link between mental health and addiction, and our co-occurring disorders treatment programs.

What Is Substance Abuse?

Substance abuse refers to the misuse of drugs or alcohol in a way that leads to negative consequences. It can include binge drinking, taking medications not prescribed for you, or using substances in ways not intended by their manufacturer. People who struggle with substance abuse may also engage in risky behaviors, such as:

  • Driving while under the influence
  • Engaging in unprotected sex
  • Using needles to inject drugs

These behaviors can increase the risk of developing other mental health issues and experiencing physical harm.

Is Addiction a Mental Health Issue?

Mental health refers to an individual’s emotional, psychological, and social well-being. Addiction is a diagnosable mental health condition characterized by compulsive engagement in rewarding activities despite negative consequences. Therefore, addiction is considered to be a mental health issue. People may experience mental health issues before or after developing an addiction, and the two can also influence each other.

Addiction can affect both our physical and psychological well-being. Apart from making it more likely to develop an addiction, substance abuse can have a negative impact on our ability to think clearly, make decisions, manage emotions, interact with others, focus on tasks at hand, and even lead to death if left untreated for too long. Additionally, addiction can lead to depression and anxiety due to changes in brain chemistry.

What Is a Dual Diagnosis Case?

A dual diagnosis case occurs when someone is diagnosed with a substance use disorder (SUD) and one more mental health condition. This type of case requires specialized treatment because treating only one condition may not address all aspects of the person’s needs related to their recovery process from addiction.

What Are Common Co-Occurring Disorders with Addiction?

Common co-occurring disorders with addiction include depression, anxiety disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and other personality disorders. Common combinations of co-occurring disorders include:

  • Anxiety and alcohol abuse
  • PTSD and opioid abuse
  • Depression and marijuana abuse

Mental health conditions often develop alongside SUDs due to changes in brain chemistry caused by misuse of drugs or alcohol but can also arise independently from addiction. Self-medication can also be a factor. Treatment for co-occurring disorders but be sought immediately because they often worsen quickly, especially if left untreated.

How Does Treatment of Co-Occurring Disorders Work?

Professionals assess clients struggling with addiction, and any accompanying mental health conditions are identified through this process. Treatment for co-occurring disorders typically involves medications prescribed by a doctor and psychotherapy sessions conducted individually or as part of group therapy sessions. These sessions are often led by qualified professionals such as counselors or therapists trained specifically in trauma-informed care.

At DeNovo Recovery, clients can access mental health and addiction treatment services with experienced mental health professionals. Our treatment team has years of experience treating mental health issues and substance abuse.

Find Co-Occurring Disorders Treatment in Missouri at DeNovo Recovery

Remember that seeking help is often the first step toward recovery. Don’t hesitate to contact DeNovo Recover if you’re in Missouri and feel like you need assistance when confronting your own struggles with mental health issues and addiction. Contact DeNovo Recovery today at 816.208.8106 to learn more about the link between mental health and substance abuse and how our caring and knowledgeable team treats cases of co-occurring disorders.