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What is the connection between mental health and addiction

    There has long been debate about whether substance use causes or is a symptom of mental health problems. In recent years, technology and the widespread availability of data have helped scientists improve their understanding of the brain, and the conclusions are still unclear. The causal relationship between mental illness and substance use disorders is unquestionably linked, but far more complex than the other causes. Orange County rehab will help for making your mental health stable. 

    There is no doubt that addiction and mental disorders share the same risk factors and people with a mental health diagnosis are more likely to abuse drugs. Read on to learn more about the complex relationship between mental health and substance abuse.

    Is Mental Illness Addictive?

    Mental illness puts a person at increased risk of a chronic substance use disorder, but not everyone who struggles with mental illness turns to drugs and alcohol. Therefore, it is not correct to say that mental illness triggers addiction, but rather is a risk factor. Orange County rehab will help to realise that addiction can lead to mental illness.

    On the other hand, it is still very difficult to say whether an excessive drug or alcohol abuse leads directly to mental health problems. In many cases, they cause a chemical spike that depletes your natural supply. Over time, you can end up with levels of this vital chemical that are so disturbed that you develop symptoms of mental illness.

    Common Reasons

    The National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that about one in four people with a serious mental illness also has a substance use disorder. MI includes schizophrenia, major depressive disorder and bipolar disorder.

    The following conditions are most commonly diagnosed with addiction. Some of these are internalizing disorders, such as anxiety and depression, which are thought to have a strong causal relationship with substance use disorders. However, there is a link with other types of mental illness.

    Depression: Depression is characterized by a lack of motivation and zest for life. When the effects of the substance wear off, it can produce the same feelings, and long-term substance abuse is believed to contribute to the imbalance that leads to depression. Also, people taking sedatives tend to experience depression-like symptoms when drunk.

    Anxiety: According to the NIDA, anxiety disorders have a high rate of comorbidities. Substances such as alcohol, benzodiazepines, opioids, marijuana and ketamine depress the central nervous system. For those with anxiety, it can feel like the perfect antidote to the fight-or-flight response that can’t be turned off. On the other hand, stimulants such as methamphetamine, cocaine, ecstasy and crack increase self-esteem and lower inhibitions, which can relieve anxiety-related symptoms. Complicating matters further, some substances can create chemical imbalances that exacerbate anxiety in the long term.

    ADHD: ADHD, especially if undiagnosed in adolescence, is a major risk factor for addiction. People with this mental illness struggle to focus and self-regulate, and abusing alcohol or drugs can feel like an effective way of coping with these struggles. However, in the long run, using substances to compensate for your problem will only make it worse.

    Bipolar Disorder: Bipolar disorder is SMI characterized by periods of extreme depression and mania. This cycle is beyond the sufferer’s control unless they have received medical treatment for the condition, making their life frightening and unpredictable. Substance abuse is a way for a person to gain more self-control and reduce the emotional pain.

    Schizophrenia: There is a causal link between cannabis use and schizophrenia, but it is based on the presence of certain genes. In addition, people with this diagnosis are more likely to abuse drugs, alcohol and tobacco.

    PTSD: PTSD is an anxiety disorder, but it is one with the highest risk of addiction. People with this condition experience real-time emotional flashbacks of traumatic experiences. Unless the trauma is treated by a professional in a treatment facility, it will not heal on its own. Just like physical wounds, emotional wounds need to be healed. 


    Substance use disorders are seen as impairments in judgment or a lack of self-control. However, there is usually a clear reason why someone has so little self-discipline that they are willing to take the risk. For many people, drug and alcohol abuse offers a release from challenging emotions and situations that addicts can’t find anywhere else. Orange County rehab can help with self-meditation and living a peaceful life. 

    Many people with mental health problems have unwanted feelings and thoughts that make everyday life unbearable. The high provides temporary relief from these triggers, which sends the individual into a cycle of self-destruction. Because it feels like the substances are helping the person, it is very difficult for them to accept that they are making the situation worse in the long run.