Mental Illness and Substance Abuse, The Connection.

 

Dual Diagnosis writes

The National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) reports that there is a “definite connection between mental illness and the use of addictive substances” and that mental health disorder patients are responsible for the consumption of:

  • 38 percent of alcohol
  • 44 percent of cocaine
  • 40 percent of cigarettes

NBER also reports that people who have been diagnosed with a mental health disorder at some point in their lives are responsible for the consumption of:

  • 69 percent of alcohol
  • 84 percent of cocaine
  • 68 percent of cigarettes

There’s clearly a connection between substance abuse and mental health disorders, and any number of combinations can develop, each with its own set of unique causes and symptoms, as well as its own appropriate intervention and Dual Diagnosis treatment methods. Which Dual Diagnosis treatment program is the best fit for your loved one?

Self-Medication

By far the most common issue connecting mental illness and substance abuse is the intention of patients to medicate the mental health symptoms that they find disruptive or uncomfortable by using alcohol and drugs.

Some examples include:
  • The depressed patient who uses marijuana to numb the pain
  • The patient suffering from social anxiety who drinks to feel more comfortable in social situations
  • The patient who struggles with panic attacks and takes benzodiazepines like Xanax or Valium in order to calm the symptoms or stop the attacks before they start
  • The patient with low energy and lack of motivation who takes Adderall, cocaine or crystal meth to increase their drive to get things done

Unfortunately, drugs and alcohol often do little to address the underlying mental health symptoms and ultimately create a whole new batch of problems for the patient while also…

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