Research shows that there is a clear connection between substance misuse and mental health. People struggling with addiction often have co-occurring mental health issues like depression, anxiety or PTSD. According to the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, over half of the people diagnosed with a substance addiction will also have a mental health disorder at some point in their life.
During your addiction treatment program, receiving care for any existing mental health disorders offers you a greater chance at recovery.
The Link Between Substance Use Disorder and Mental Health
A co-occurring disorder is when you struggle with substance misuse and a mental health disorder at the same time. Other terms for this condition include dual diagnosis or a concurrent disorder.
Even when a mental health issue and an addiction occur simultaneously, each condition has its own unique symptoms — and these signs can vary widely. If you believe you may have a co-occurring disorder, here are some red flags to look out for:
- Using drugs or alcohol to cope with anxiety, unpleasant feelings or memories.
- Using a substance to control your mood or stay focused on a task.
- Inability to face stressful or scary situations with using drugs or alcohol.
- Difficulties functioning at work or school.
- Problems maintaining a stable home life.
- A family history of mental health problems or substance misuse.
- Feeling depressed, anxious or out of sorts when you’re sober.
Which Problem Develops First?
Due to the high rate of co-occurring substance addictions and mental health disorders, people often wonder which issue arose first. Did mental illness cause substance misuse, or did addictive behaviors provoke adverse mental health symptoms?
While there’s an undeniable link between substance use disorder and mental health, it often makes sense to think of each issue as an independent problem that influences the other. There are several possible reasons these conditions may interact:
- Self-medication: People often use drugs or alcohol to self-medicate and relieve the symptoms of a mental health issue.
- Underlying mental health risks: Misusing alcohol or drugs may push already at-risk people toward manifesting a mental health problem.
- Substances create mental health symptoms: Substance misuse can sharply increase symptoms of existing mental illness and even trigger new symptoms.
Improving Mental Health Through Addiction Recovery Treatment
The best treatment for co-occurring disorders is an integrated approach that simultaneously treats your addiction and underlying mental health disorders. At GreeneStone Centre for Recovery, our skilled intake professionals provide a psychiatric assessment that helps us determine if you have a co-occurring disorder. We have extensive experience treating a wide array of substance use disorders alongside depression, anxiety, trauma, PTSD and other mental health issues that may fuel your addiction.
Our treatment plans include medication and a combination of evidence-based therapies and holistic care to support real and lasting change. We’ll help you understand how your mental health has influenced your substance use disorder. You’ll learn healthy coping skills and strategies to minimize substance misuse and strengthen your overall mental outlook.
Learn More About GreeneStone Centre for Recovery
Understanding how substance use disorders impact your mental health is an important part of the recovery process. If you or a loved one are struggling with a co-occurring disorder, we can help. Contact GreeneStone Centre for Recovery to learn more about our comprehensive treatment options today.