Why Mental Illness and Substance Abuse Often Walk Hand in Hand


Those who abuse substances can start on that path in several ways. For instance, maybe you start using drugs because of peer pressure. You might also like to use drugs at parties because you feel like that’s just part of the scene and it’s expected of you.

Other times, individuals start to use drugs because of mental illness. They might be okay with this for a while, but the behavior can easily get out of control. If this is happening with you, a time might come when you need to seek out a treatment center to wean yourself off the substances that have control over you. 

Why do substance abuse and mental illness often go together, though? We’ll explore this concept in the following article.

Mental Illness Causes You to Feel Unbalanced

There are all kinds of mental illnesses. You might have dozens of different conditions. Some individuals even grapple with multiple types of mental illness at the same time.

Maybe you go to a doctor and get a diagnosis, but perhaps you don’t. Either way, you may feel unbalanced, and you don’t like the feeling very much. Your mental illness might cause you to feel isolated, depressed, or anxious in many situations.

If this happens to you and you try drugs, you might start to feel better and more in control of yourself. You may find that by consuming alcohol, smoking marijuana, or doing some other substance, you feel more confident and less ill at ease.

Self-Medicating is Common

This sort of activity is called self-medicating in the medical world. Therapists know all about it. They know that when an individual is mentally ill, whether that person has received a diagnosis or not, they’re likely to try and take the edge off of their condition. They’ll use whatever substances they can find which seem to have the desired effect. 

In some instances, self-medicating isn’t so bad. Someone who’s mentally ill and treats their condition by smoking a little marijuana in the privacy of their own home is not doing society any harm.

The problem is that sometimes, substance abuse can exacerbate mental illness rather than soothe the condition. You might have someone who’s schizophrenic, for instance. Using the wrong substance can cause a psychotic break, and then there’s no telling what this person will do. 

Try to Get Diagnosed

If you feel as though you’re having problems, and you think that mental illness might be the cause of them, seeing a doctor is a great idea. Either a regular doctor or a mental health professional might be able to recommend some tests based on your symptoms. Once you have been diagnosed, the medical community can recommend a treatment course for you.

If you’re mentally ill, you might be able to get drugs prescribed to you that can help with that particular condition. If you remain undiagnosed and self-medicate, there is no telling how that might turn out. You may end up harming yourself or others if you’re not careful.

About Author

LaDonna Dennis

LaDonna Dennis is the founder and creator of Mom Blog Society. She wears many hats. She is a Homemaker*Blogger*Crafter*Reader*Pinner*Friend*Animal Lover* Former writer of Frost Illustrated and, Cancer...SURVIVOR! LaDonna is happily married to the love of her life, the mother of 3 grown children and "Grams" to 3 grandchildren. She adores animals and has four furbabies: Makia ( a German Shepherd, whose mission in life is to be her attached to her hip) and Hachie, (an OCD Alaskan Malamute, and Akia (An Alaskan Malamute) who is just sweet as can be. And Sassy, a four-month-old German Shepherd who has quickly stolen her heart and become the most precious fur baby of all times. Aside from the humans in her life, LaDonna's fur babies are her world.

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29 days ago

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