An American Addiction Centers Resource

New to the Forums?Join or

How Mental Illness and Addiction Influence Each Other

Discussion in 'Dual-Diagnosis Treatment' started by kevinkimers, Nov 22, 2014.

  1. kevinkimers

    kevinkimers Community Champion

    This was an interesting article I found that I thought you guys might want to check out. It talks about how mental illness and addiction influence one another.

    Link to article
    pineywood likes this.
  2. zaerine

    zaerine Community Champion

    Thanks for sharing the article link. :)
    I think addiction can really cause mental illness since the substance have been doing bad things in your health including the condition of the brain.
  3. notodrugs

    notodrugs Community Listener Community Listener

    Thanks for this link kevinkimers.

    Indeed, one can suppose that mental illness and addiction are correlated. I know for a fact that substance addiction causes mental illness. But I was not so sure about mental illness being the cause for addiction. And the link confirmed my thoughts on it. I have friends who said if one is mentally stable, then s/he would not have opted using substance to drown his/her pain or whatever problems s/he's facing. It can be true in some ways. Or maybe the right term would be emotionally and/or mentally weak but not necessarily mentally ill?
  4. xTinx

    xTinx Community Champion

    It's actually a chicken and egg question between addiction and mental illness. Sometimes, a psychological condition precedes the addiction. In other words, what pushed the person to take on drugs is the illness itself. On one hand, some people addicted to drugs end up contracting grave mental illnesses like dementia (usually later in life), bi-polarity and schizophrenia.
  5. DancingLady

    DancingLady Community Champion

    I think it is possible that some people with mental illness are more at risk of using an addictive substance and becoming addicted because they may turn to substance abuse as a coping method to deal with the struggles they face due to their illness, but I think it is equally likely that substance abuse causes mental illness or mental problems of some kind because of the brain damage that can happen from using dangerous substances, especially in higher doses or frequently. Some of the side effects like paranoia may also become mental habits that last long after someone has gotten off the drug.
  6. kevinkimers

    kevinkimers Community Champion

    I guess drugs and mental illness walk hand in hand in some way. I have a friend who is battling with
    Bi-Polar disorder and another personality disorder I can't remember the name of (similar to schizophrenia but kinda different). He drinks because when he's sober he's so depressed... when he's drinking he becomes manic and his other disorder becomes even more prominent. It's pretty ugly. Another friend of mine got into drugs because everyone else around her was doing it and she became hooked. She graduated high school at 16 and was going to some major university, can't remember which all I remember is that she wanted to be a Micro-Biologist. Half way through college, her drug addiction got bad. She was kicked out of the school. She is now homeless and no longer doing drugs but she has a mental illness and she has problems remembering things, even where she is at times.

    If you don't have the mental illness before the drugs... most likely you will have it when you do them.
  7. Profit5500

    Profit5500 Senior Contributor

    Mental disorders do work hand in hand with drugs. If you got a crazy personality due to being bi-polar then drugs would do you no good. You have to think about these people daily and help them if they are your friends or family. I would just be cautious helping a stranger who has bi-polar disorder. I never had to talk to anyone who had drug and mental disorders. I would hope not to have to deal with a ugly situation like that. If I meet someone who has that kind of problem then I would have to be proactive and help that person to the best of my abilities.
  8. CieraLashae

    CieraLashae Member

    Mental illness and drug addiction seems to have a cross related relationship and various ways. One of the most basic facts of this relationship is that drug addiction can trigger mental illness or personality disorders. Likewise, mental illnesses or personality disorders could lead a person to drug abuse. Many people with personality disorders such as avoidant personality have abused drugs out of frustration, depression, and feelings of isolation.
  9. Nergaahl

    Nergaahl Community Champion

    What about the other way - how drug abuse leads to mental illness? Addiction is also a mental illness, a very severe one which leads to death. I'm surprised no one classified it as one of them yet.
  10. sillylucy

    sillylucy Community Champion

    I think it is undeniable that mental illness is related to addiction. Mental illness and addiction are chemical imbalances in the brain. If you have a mental illness and an imbalance in one area, it is most likely that you will have an imbalance that leads you to have an addictive personality.
  11. DancingLady

    DancingLady Community Champion

    I'm not sure that addiction is really a mental illness, but it does affect the brain. I think it is more of a physical issue in many cases, like a chemical addiction to a substance. It's the body craving it even if the person does not want to give in. There are psychological addictions though, and those would be more like a mental illness.
  12. Nergaahl

    Nergaahl Community Champion

    Agreed. Well I didn't know how to explain my point of view very clearly, I'm sorry. Still, I can't say drug addicts are sane people at all. So that's why I was calling them people with mental illnesses.
  13. I feel that the two are related. If you have an addiction, there is something more going on mentally. I am not sure I would go as far as saying that addiction itself is actually a mental illness. I can however see how someone can make that argument.
  14. Charli

    Charli Community Champion

    Very good article. They really do seem related because most of the time substance abuse is only derived from self medication of unknown underlying issues, which is why it's always much better to search for answers in individual mindsets instead of blaming the substances outright which at the end of the day are just tools like any other and like most tools can cause both benefits and harm.
  15. Miles Hansen

    Miles Hansen Member

    I don't think I've ever met a person in my life who was addicted, but who didn't have some sort of mental issues, myself included. Depression, anxiety, instability all of these lead to substance abuse and I find that they amplify each other. The more depressed you are, the more drugs you need, and the more drugs you need the more depressed you become.
    That being said I'm no expert, I'm just observant.
    Interesting article though, thanks for sharing! Have a good one!
  16. hellonamesdana

    hellonamesdana Senior Contributor

    I definitely feel that mental illnesses and addiction are related and connected. My mother is an alcoholic and she's also bipolar with a lot of depression, but to be honest her depression probably wouldn't be half as bad if she didn't drink so much. A lot of people who I know turned to drugs and alcohol because of their depression and anxiety to try and reverse it, but ended up just making it so much worse.
  17. stellaluna

    stellaluna Member

    I think it's important to remember that correlation does not mean cause and effect. There is a pretty significant difference. A correlation is stating that there is a trend. There is some sort of relationship occurring. This in no way indicates that one causes the other or vice versa. That being said, mental illness does not cause substance abuse and substance abuse does not cause mental illness. If anything, it means the two disorders follow very similar pathways in their formation.
  18. pineywood

    pineywood Community Champion

    Just what I was looking for, thanks for the link!

    While I appreciate your good intentions and compassion expressed in your post, I think using the word "crazy" is a bit of derogatory term. If you had a loved one, with a mental illness, I doubt, you would want others to call them by this word.

    Well, said. This was why I started a thread on nature vs nurture. Nature being a mental illness. I just wonder, what do you mean by "the two disorders follow very similar pathways in their formation"?

    I was not so much on board with Nature (mental illness) causing addiction, but does it make an individual more prone or susceptible/vulnerable to an addiction?
  19. stellaluna

    stellaluna Member

    It is stated that mental illness does predispose one to addiction, but I'm not sure if this is really a predisposition or if it's more of a similarity between the two. Or in other words, are all mental health disorders simply a point on a large mental wellness continuum, and if so, isn't alcoholism simply another ailment lying somewhere on that line? Science is advancing so that we now know that slight anomolies of the brain's function can result in a whole host of disorders. Unfortunately, that doesn't really give us the answer to preventing, curing, or even successfully treating many of these ailments.
    pineywood likes this.
  20. pineywood

    pineywood Community Champion

    Aha! Thanks for the clarification. Hopefully, someday, we will have more answers. This will surely increase the success rates to prevent, cure, and or treat ailments.

    So, maybe this is why, we see alcoholism through generations of family lines?