Woman in Pain

Mental Illness and Alcohol/Drug Abuse

What is the relationship between drug abuse disorder and other mental health disorders?

According to national studies, about HALF of all people with substance use disorder (SUD) also have a mental illness such as depression or anxiety.  There are 5 major reasons for this relationship:

  • Undiagnosed mental illness can lead to addiction as a person tries to 'self medicate.' For example, drinking alcohol to escape feelings of anxiety.

  • A few drugs can cause mental illnesses. IE prolonged ecstasy use can cause Major Depression.

  • Drug use in adolescent years can lead to mental illness and addiction.  This is because adolescents learn to depend on drugs/alcohol instead of learning coping skills.

  • Drugs can bring out latent mental health disorders.  For example, a genetic predisposition for Schizophrenia can be brought out by using hallucinogenics.

  • Patients with mental illness often take medication with very unpleasant side effects, and they turn to drug use to counter those side effects.  For example, abusing amphetamines or nicotine to counter the drowsiness and lack of motivation caused by antidepressant medication.

​The information provided is for educational purposes only. It is not meant to diagnose or treat any health condition and is not a replacement for treatment by a healthcare provider.  If your questions haven't been answered, contact Family and Youth Therapy, PLLC directly.​