Why Mental Health Disorders Co-Exist With Substance Use
Updated: Mar 6
When you face a mental health disorder like anxiety, bipolar disorder, or depression alongside a substance abuse problem, it is known as Comorbidity or Dual Diagnosis or a Co-occurring disorder. Handling these co-occurring disorders is never easy. Before digging into the treatment solution, let’s discuss why mental health disorders co-exist with substance use.
Why Does Comorbidity Occur?
While substance abuse usually occurs with other mental disorders, it doesn’t mean that one causes the other, even if one is seen first. Nevertheless, the study recommends 3 possibilities for this Comorbidity:
1. Addiction and substance abuse can contribute to increased mental ailments. Substance use issues may change the brain that possibly increases the chance of growing a mental ailment.
2. Mental ailments can contribute to substance use disorders. Some health issues are recognized as risk factors for growing a substance use disorder. For instance, studies recommend that people with mental ailments may consume alcohol or have drugs as a type of self-medication. Albeit some drugs help in relieving mental ailment symptoms, this often can make the symptoms worse as well. Moreover, if an individual grows a mental sickness, changes in his/her brain may improve the rewarding impacts of substances, influencing the individual to use the substance continuously.
3. Basic risk factors can also be the reason for the co-occurrence of substance use disorders and mental illnesses. Studies recommend that several genes are there to contribute to the risk of growing both mental ailments and substance use issues. For instance, some individuals have a particular gene that can take them at more dangers of mental illness as an adult, whether they used marijuana frequently as a kid. Also, a gene can impact how an individual responds to a drug – if or not using the drugs make them feel good as well. Environmental factors like trauma or stress can also lead to genetic transformations that are accorded through generations and possibly contribute to the growth of a substance abuse problem or mental illnesses.
How to Treat These Co-Occurring Disorders
Making an estimate, a detailed plan that can treat both disorders has been successful the most. Researchers and clinicians agree that taking a combined approach that identifies both conditions simultaneously is not just more advantageous to the patient but also can help lower care expenses also. Presently successful therapies for Comorbidity engaging mental health issues and addiction incorporate medications and behavioral treatments. Both mental health experts’ services are used as part of a tailored plan.
Although you must learn more about the Comorbidity, knowing that the two disorders are closely associated is an essential step to help treat people who encounter both. Since now it is known that Comorbidity is common, more healthcare service providers are offering services to anybody who looks for treatment for both disorders. This way both disorders can be treated at the same time.
Now that we know why mental health disorders co-exist with substance use, it can be hoped that each individual impacted by Comorbidity can get treatment and start a way to recovery.