HealthcareHow Mental Illness Can Lead to Addiction

Mental Illness is an extremely common problem that most deal with in some way on a daily basis. Treating mental illness is so difficult because there are so many factors and types. Those struggling with depression will likely have a different treatment than those who struggle with anxiety. Additionally, there are plenty of cases where crossover happens meaning that its likely that if you experience extreme depression, you likely have high anxiety as well. For obvious reasons, this complicates treatments making each individual case unique.

One of the largest problems that mental illness can cause is the increased likelihood of substance abuse and addiction. Because those who suffer from mental illness are looking for a way to feel better, oftentimes, they will turn to self-medication. This self-medication comes in many forms, but most often in the form of alcoholism, drug abuse, porn addiction, and more.

Mental Illness and Substance Abuse

The combination of mental illness and addiction is something called dual diagnosis. According to the National Alliance of Mental Illness (NAMI), dual diagnosis is when someone experiences both a mental illness and substance use disorder simultaneously. Someone can either experience mental illness first or substance abuse, either way, they will end up fueling the other leading to a vicious cycle from which it’s incredibly difficult to get out of.

For those who are struggling with dual diagnosis, it’s important to understand the effect of drug use on the brain and how it might affect a mental illness. When a drug is introduced into the body, it mimics neurotransmitters in the brain that produce chemicals like dopamine which in turn signal to the body a feeling pleasure. As these neurotransmitters continue to be manually triggered, there’s a diminishing return on satisfaction and pleasure received. This, in turn, leads to a constant desire to reach the peak feeling, which can no longer be obtained. Users will continue to use more and more in search of the ultimate high until they physically can no longer use it.

This process is detrimental to the brain and will only worsen a mental illness causing more severe depression, anxiety, or whatever the person is currently struggling with. Additionally, continue long-term substance abuse can lead to new forms of mental illness such as schizophrenia and severe paranoia.

Common Illnesses and Drugs that fall under Dual Diagnosis

Mental Illnesses

  • Clinical Depression
  • Anxiety Disorder
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Dementia
  • Attention Deficit Disorder
  • Schizophrenia
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)


  • Alcohol
  • Prescription & Overt the Counter Medicine
  • Heroin
  • Marijuana
  • Cocaine

Treatments and Next Steps

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental illness, substance abuse, or dual diagnosis, it’s important to immediately seek professional help. A professional will be able to provide an accurate diagnosis and offer recommended treatments either in the form of medication, therapy, or a combination of the two. One thing you should look into is your local long-term drug treatment centers. These centers provide in-patient and out-patient services that helps treat substance abuse and mental illness through the use of group therapy and individualized therapy in a safe comfortable environment. Whatever you choose, remember that you’re doing this to support someone you know and love. Being patient, and understanding that you can only do so much is crucial to a successful recovery.

This post has been sponsored by Avalaunch Media

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Digital Health Buzz!

Digital Health Buzz!

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