As devastating as they are, some conditions come in pairs. For instance, those with diabetes are more likely to be diagnosed with heart disease, and a person with asthma may have allergies as well.
The same sort of effect sometimes appears when a person has an addiction. In fact, it’s very common for illicit substances to accompany mental health issues.
Here, you’ll learn about the most common psychological problems that accompany substance abuse.
Alcoholism is linked to various mental health problems, including dementia, mania, drug addiction, schizophrenia.
According to the NIAAA (National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism), antisocial personality disorder (ASPD) and alcoholism are inextricably linked. Those who regularly drink excessively are 21 times more likely to be diagnosed with ASPD than those who don’t have an alcohol addiction. Often, these disorders appear early on, but alcoholism may worsen the underlying mental condition, as an intoxicated person’s lowered inhibitions make their behaviours more evident.
Schizophrenia and marijuana usage
It’s quite common for those who’ve received a schizophrenia diagnosis to develop one or more addictions. A study published on the American Journal of Psychiatry shows that almost 50% of patients with schizophrenia also have substance abuse disorders. However, there’s a strong association between excessive marijuana use and schizophrenia. The details of why patients with this mental condition would abuse the substance aren’t clear, as it produces some of the same symptoms experienced during an episode. It’s known, though, that marijuana usage is common in these patients.
Anxiety and cocaine addiction
Those who use cocaine regularly often do so because the drug makes them feel powerful and euphoric. However, continual use may lead to symptoms similar to those found in anxiety disorders, including hallucinations, paranoia, insomnia, suspiciousness, and violent behaviour.
Though these symptoms may diminish if a person achieves long-term sobriety, in some cases, the damage is permanent, and disordered behaviours and thoughts linger forever.
PTSD and opioid addiction
Posttraumatic stress disorder or PTSD is a mental condition that appears after a person goes through a life-or-death situation. Often, survivors emerge with severe physical injuries that are treated with strong prescription painkillers.
These drugs work in the brain’s calm and pleasure centres, and some with PTSD abuse them to achieve euphoric effects. While a person in pain might need help to overcome it, combining prescription narcotics with PTSD often leads to a tragic outcome.
Depression and heroin addiction
Though heroin induces short-term pleasurable feelings, chronic users may destroy the sections of the brain that produce those signals. With time, permanent brain damage and depression may result, and the patient may not be able to feel happy without the drug. This link between mental illness and drugs is quite common, but fortunately, it can be broken with sobriety and treatment.
Some drugs create a physical and psychological dependence that’s very tough to come out of. The notion that these two types of dependence are separate is a false one that’s detrimental to the treatment and understanding of substance abuse disorders.
Withdrawal from drugs such as barbiturates, benzodiazepines, and alcohol may lead to fatal seizures, but such issues are uncommon with opiate withdrawal. The mental and physical recovery process should be closely monitored by addiction treatment physicians who can identify and address potential problems.
Image credit: Freepik
Dennis Relojo-Howell is the founder of Psychreg. He interviews people within psychology, mental health, and well-being on his YouTube channel, The DRH Show.
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