Those with a mental health issue are twice as likely as those without to develop an addiction. Mental health and addiction are inextricably linked. Substance abuse can worsen mental health problems. There are many types of mental health disorders, and each can affect a person’s life differently.
What is The Connection Between Mental Health and Addiction (Image Credit Pexels)
Some mental health disorders can make a person feel anxious or depressed, while others may cause a person to act out in violent or self-destructive ways. To effectively deal with the issue, a Drug & Alcohol Rehab has to treat both the addiction and the underlying mental health disorder. To understand the connection, read on.
How Does a Mental Health Issue Affect One’s Life?
Mental health includes emotional, psychological and social well-being. A person’s mental health can be affected by various factors, concerning but not limited to:
- Stressful life events such as the death of a loved one, divorce, or job loss
- Traumatic experiences such as abuse or violence
- Having a family history of mental illness
- Biological factors such as a chemical imbalance in the brain
Mental health disorders can cause a person to feel hopeless, worthless, and helpless. They may also lead to losing interest in activities once enjoyed. In some cases, mental health disorders can even cause a person to have thoughts of suicide or self-harm.
The brain is a complex organ, and when something is not working correctly, it can have a ripple effect throughout the entire body. Understand that mental health disorders are real, severe medical conditions that require treatment from qualified professionals.
How Do Mental Health Issues Lead to Addiction?
People with mental health disorders often turn to drugs or alcohol to self-medicate. They may try to numb the mental illness’s pain or escape the negative feelings they are experiencing.
Unfortunately, this only leads to a downward spiral as the addiction takes over and worsens the mental health disorder. It becomes a vicious cycle difficult to break free from without professional help.
Treating the addiction without addressing the underlying mental health disorder is not enough. It leads to relapse, as the person is still not dealing with the root problem. It takes therapy, medication, and a lot of hard work to overcome an addiction and a mental health disorder.
How Does Addiction Lead to Mental Health Disorders
Addiction is the continued use of a substance or activity despite adverse consequences. It changes the brain in ways that lead to cravings, making it difficult to control impulses. Over time, addiction can lead to problems with mental health, such as:
Addiction can also worsen pre-existing mental health disorders. The disorders kick in when a person attempts to quit using, experiencing withdrawal symptoms. Also, addiction’s hopelessness, shame, and guilt can lead to suicidal thoughts or behaviors. The good news is that it is possible to overcome addiction and mental health disorders with treatment.
What Can Be Done To Help?
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If you or someone you know is struggling with a mental health disorder and addiction, help is available. Reach out for professional help as soon as possible. Because it’s not easy to tell where one problem starts and the other ends, it’s best to seek treatment from a facility that specializes in addiction and mental health disorders. Here are some other things you can do:
When you understand the connection between mental health and addiction, it is easier to see how they feed off each other. The more you know about the issue, the better equipped you will be to help your loved one. For instance, you’ll learn how to help the person when a negative situation occurs or if they start to exhibit signs of relapse.
Recovery is a long and challenging journey. Show the person that you are there for them every step. Be patient and understanding, and never give up on them. Sometimes, they act out or make mistakes, but that doesn’t mean they are not worth fighting for. Focus on their positive qualities and remind them of their worth.
Treatment is essential for overcoming addiction and mental health disorders. It may be challenging to convince your loved one to seek help, but do not hesitate to try. If they are not ready to seek treatment, you can still offer support and be there for them when they are ready to take that step. To help them see they need treatment:
- Show them how the problems have affected their quality of life
- Dont bail them out of the issues caused by their addiction
- Encourage them to talk to a therapist or counselor
You can also look into treatment options and facilities yourself, preparing you for when they are ready to seek help. Talk and discuss the available options together, and let them know you will support them.
Take Care of Yourself
Caring for someone with an addiction and mental health disorder is quite challenging. You never know what to expect, affecting your mental and emotional health. You’re always on edge, worrying about the person and their next move. Make sure to:
- Get enough sleep
- Eat a balanced diet
- Exercise regularly
- Talk to someone about what you’re going through
- Join a support group for caregivers
- Take breaks and vacations when you can
You cannot pour from an empty cup. If you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t be able to care for your loved one.
What Happens When Both Issues Are Treated?
When both addiction and mental health disorders are treated, it is possible to achieve long-term recovery. It requires hard work and dedication, but it is worth it. In treatment, the person will:
- Learn about the connection between mental health and addiction
- Identify the underlying causes of the disorders
- Develop healthy coping skills
- Build a support system
- Create a relapse prevention plan
Don’t Give Up on Your Loved One
The treatment gives your loved ones the tools they need to overcome disorders and live a happy and healthy life. It restores your relationship, improves communication, and helps you both grow. Take one step at a time, and never give up on your loved one.
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