August 20, 2018 Felicia Durling

The Link Between Addiction and Mental Illness

Addiction can be complex because of the range of causes that contribute to the habits. Many medical professionals agree that mental health can often play a role in addictive behavior. But, there is a question that is always up for debate: does addiction cause mental health issues, or does the problem start with mental health issues that lead to addiction?

These questions pose a “chicken or the egg” scenario. But, there is no question that addiction and mental illness often go hand-in-hand, which means that the treatment programs need to be designed to help with the addictive behaviors as well as the underlying mental challenges.

Dual Diagnosis for Optimal Treatment

Often, the best solution is to look for a dual diagnosis so that the right treatment plan can be designed to address all factors. For example, the addiction diagnosis is obvious when the person is dependent on drugs or alcohol. Then, the addiction specialists can look for other mental health factors that might be playing a role.

Some of the common mental health concerns include:

  • Depression: Alcohol or substance abuse is sometimes used to mask the symptoms of depression over time. Or, there are instances where people develop depression because of the ongoing use of a depressant substance, such as alcohol.
  • Anxiety: This mental health concern is one of the most common issues associated with addiction. The person might feel very real symptoms, and then turn to drugs or alcohol for relief. Often, the addictive behavior is a coping mechanism to handle stressful life situations.
  • Schizophrenia: Sometimes, drug or alcohol use might result in symptoms that are similar to schizophrenia. Even though the symptoms are similar, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the person has a mental health disorder.

You should never jump to conclusions that a mental health disorder is present. But, there are often situations where mental issues are connected with drug and alcohol use. These problems can be exacerbated when a person is trapped in an addictive cycle.

At The Center for Life Change, we provide a full treatment program that addresses the addiction as well as corresponding mental health concerns. Call us to learn about your options for treatment or support: (951) 775-4000

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