There is a well-established link between drug addiction and mental health issues. According to studies, over half of those with alcohol or drug dependency also have a co-occurring condition. This link is influenced by a number of things. Drug abuse can often be triggered by an underlying illness, for example. On the other hand, it may also precipitate mental disease. In this article, we will examine the question does substance abuse cause mental illness?

Of course, drug misuse isn’t the main cause of mental problems. Other underlying reasons, such as genetics and environment, have a role as well. Substance addiction, however, can play a significant part in a person’s life, either influencing these or exacerbating any existing mental disorder, requiring them to seek out treatment for this issue.

How Does Drug Abuse Cause Mental Illness

It is commonly known that alcohol and certain medications can induce mental illness or exacerbate an existing psychiatric problem. Someone may not have depression or schizophrenia before engaging in drug misuse, for example. However, some medicines can cause these illnesses, and there is no way to know who is at risk. It’s possible if they hadn’t begun using, they wouldn’t have developed a problem that then requires at least partial hospitalization to treat. 

Substance addiction can alter neurotransmitters and hormones in the brain in both the short and long term. If these hormones go out of balance, it can pave the way for the development of psychiatric disease. Because their brains are still growing, young people are particularly susceptible. Substance misuse at a young age might have long-term consequences.

There is evidence that drug and alcohol usage has a significant effect on depression and schizophrenia. Certain substances and alcohol have been linked to the development or ‘activation’ of psychiatric problems. It is unknown, however, why this occurs.

Alcohol, Opioids, and Depression

Depressive symptoms affect one-third to half of all persons who drink alcohol. According to research, prolonged alcohol consumption alters brain chemistry and may result in folate deficiency, both of which are causes of depressive illness. Furthermore, significant alcohol use in a short period of time might resemble depressive symptoms. If minor symptoms are already present, this might exacerbate psychological difficulties.

Chronic opioid misuse, such as heroin usage, has also been linked to the development of moderate to severe depression. Often at this stage, intensive outpatient treatment will be needed. 

Meth, Cannabis, and Schizophrenia Use

Long-term cannabis usage is associated with an increased risk of psychosis, particularly if a person has certain genes. Furthermore, cannabis usage, particularly throughout adolescence, has been related to an increased chance of developing schizophrenia illnesses.

Other research has shown that meth usage may also contribute to the development of schizophrenia. Does Drug Abuse Cause Mental Illness

Mental Illness May Influence Substance Abuse

In many situations, the individual already had a mental illness that manifested itself as a result of drug addiction. They might have been unaware of it or never had it identified.

Feeling sluggish and uninspired are some of the early signs of depression. This might be attributed to a bad week or a lack of sleep. To relieve the symptoms, the individual may begin to self-medicate with stimulants. While self-medication looks to be a smart idea and seems as though it will ease the condition, it really worsens it. It is possible that moderate mental illness drives a person to seek solace in narcotics. As a result, the condition becomes more severe, and expert help will be required.


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