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How Mental Illness and Addiction Influence Each Other

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

  1. kylerlittle

    kylerlittle Community Champion

    They certainly affect each other. Mostly, addictions are caused by a certain mental illness or a void deep down. I think it's very difficult to deal with a mental illness then dealing with the aspect of an addiction caused by it, but, there certainly is hope and I know that for sure, any of you can recover. Getting to the root of the mental illness and fixing it might make the addiction just fade as easily, so have hope!
    stellaluna likes this.
  2. stellaluna

    stellaluna Member

    I think a hereditary component definitely contributes to alcoholism or any addictive behaviors running through family lines. I know in my family there is alcoholism through the generations, but also there is substance abuse. I think there is something about the brain that predisposes it to addiction rather than a specific type of addiction. We have to also consider that being raised by parents or grandparents that struggle with alcoholism sets a unique environment for a child to grow up in. This also contributes. So all in all, we know that both genetics and environment CAN play a role in the development of an addiction or a mental illness. However, that doesn't always mean they will.
  3. stellaluna

    stellaluna Member

    I agree that recovery is possible, but at the same time I struggle with thinking about mental illness as a problem to be "fixed" or "cured" for several reasons. First, saying that a mental illness can be "fixed" is kind of like saying that the afflicted individual is broken, and I don't think that thought pattern is very conducive to recovery. Also, there are many mental illnesses that are simply not curable. This doesn't mean recovery isn't possible, but it does mean that people suffering from these illnesses must learn how to manage them rather than hope to be cured of them. I am speaking from experience here, as I have dual diagnoses of Bipolar and BPD. I cannot hope that one day this will just go away, so instead I have to accept it, just as one would accept living with a disease like diabetss. Once I accept it I can learn how to responsibly manage, cope, and function with these disorders. That is a real struggle sometimes, so your kind words and hope for successful recovery are appreciated!
  4. kylerlittle

    kylerlittle Community Champion

    Thank you. I agree with you in terms of accepting the fact of how it is is a way to deal with it better and not be as affected by it because it helps with coping. I struggle from OCD and people say it's permanent and it can't be cured, but I don't choose to believe that because I know for a fact there's people who got over it. I believe that mentality and mental illnesses and disorders can sometimes be different. I believe that some mental illnesses are just personality, which is the reason they won't change, but doctors put a label on it when they don't have to, because it's someone's personality. However, there's mental illnesses that aren't personality and they have been developed due to a trauma or past experience, but they can be cured and there is hope for recovery, but obviously, if it's the personality type where doctors put a label on it, there's no reason to recover since it's who you are. So learning to cope is the best way.
  5. Taki

    Taki Member

    I've read a lot about mental illness predisposing one to addiction but in my personal opinion and experience I sought out drugs as a coping mechanism. Weed lets say relieved my anxiety and brought some fun in my life for a little while. But like everything else, doctor prescribed drugs included, no drug ever really helped with my depression and anxiety for the long term.

    What did help you ask? I had the realization that my life as it was sucked. The key to not being depressed was to make my life suck less. So I started taking actions that made me happier rather than trying to fit in to the predefined concept of happiness. I found that after a while, I no longer was truly depressed nor did I need the temporary escape that drugs provided.
    stellaluna likes this.
  6. aimeep80

    aimeep80 Senior Contributor

    Hello and thank you for sharing this article. I am the wife of an addict. He was clean and sober for nearly four years but has recently relapsed on alcohol. I have always felt that he has some type of mental disorder. I am not in the medical field but I have always taken an interest in mental illnesses and wanted to get my degree in psychiatry but I have anxiety disorder that has prevented me from doing many things in my life. Anyway, I have seen him do many things that kind of show me that something is going on. I've done a lot of research on borderline personality disorder and I suspect that he could have this.

    The area that we live in is very rural and there is not much help with those affected with mental illness and/or addiction. When he was actively using, he went to a few different doctors to try to find help before he actually was able to get into treatment. I brought up the possibility of mental illness and the doctor told me that he can not be diagnosed until he is off of substances and/or alcohol for at least a year. So, once he got clean and sober we waited that out (the recommended year). He went to a doctor and she suggested psychiatric treatment but at that time, he did not have insurance so could not be seen.

    So to make a long story short, the doctor prescribed an anti-depressant for him that helped him a lot. It seems to still help him, but since he started drinking again, I notice he becomes agitated easily again and trivial things seem to really bother him. Granted he doesn't drink every day like he did when he was at the height of his addiction..but If I am correct, I believe that once an addict relapses, it causes their dopamine levels to bottom out? I may be wrong but it seems as if I've read this somewhere. So, I personally do believe that mental illness and addiction go hand in hand. It would be great if there were better medical help for those with both.
  7. kylerlittle

    kylerlittle Community Champion

    You're very right. I'm glad you shared this, as it has a lot of meaning to others probably, and they can realize. I believe once they realize the cause, then working on it which is the harder bit, can help a lot. I think also learning to cope with a certain mental illness can help a lot.
    aimeep80 likes this.
  8. Johnsnow123

    Johnsnow123 Active Contributor

    Thanks for sharing! I do believe mental illness does influence alcoholism because when you're mentally ill, you become depressed easily. And depression is the number 1 cause to alcoholism and addictions.
  9. Matthodge1

    Matthodge1 Community Champion

    That was definitely an informative and interesting read. Thank you for posting the article. I had noticed a connection between mental disorders/illnesses and substance abuse/drinking. I thought it was mere coincidence, but it turns out that it is not.
  10. kylerlittle

    kylerlittle Community Champion

    It's very important to realize it's not mere coincidence because it can really affect behaviour and stuff. I think what's more important is to actually realize it's not a coincidence and start working on the cause rather than ignore it and not believe it.
  11. Matthodge1

    Matthodge1 Community Champion

    I completely agree with you. There needs to be more of an awareness for this.
  12. amethyst

    amethyst Community Champion

    A friend of mine was a borderline schizophrenic and managed her illness with drugs for many years. But then something happened in her life that triggered a worsening of her symptoms. She somehow got it into her head that smoking marijuana would help her get rid of her anxiety and paranoia. But it completely spiraled her out of control where she could not "switch off" the voices in her head anymore. She ended up in a mental asylum where she remained for nearly 8 months before she was stable again.
    Last edited: May 6, 2015
  13. kylerlittle

    kylerlittle Community Champion

    That's to be expected because Marijuana does worsen hallucinations if not create them, and it does create delusions. It's very important that they realize that.
  14. Adrianna

    Adrianna Community Champion

    Substance abuse leads to psychological issues. Marijuana causes psychosis, schizophrenia, and bi-polar. There is plenty of evidence of this. It is right on a government website about this, it is in plain sight.
  15. Trinity

    Trinity Member

    I am not sure if I am posting right , but thought I would try. New to forum , so need sometime to get the hang of it . I was diagnosed bipolar long before I had a substance abuse problem . But the need to control my life on my term lead to denial and self medication . Thus adding fuel to the fire . I really hope someday they come up with an accurate test to reveal the direct origin . But I do believe there is a multitude of factors and addicts and the mentally challenged are subseptible to all those stressers. Since I began educating myself on both subjects and have to manage both in relatively the sameway. I come to realize all is a symptom of my underlying issues. I literally , if not vigilant can throw myself into depression , mania or relapse with substances and behavior. So managing it means looking out for triggers. Staying in the moment helps , not dwelling on past , present or future issues. Real or perceived . Some days it is impossible , and I have to remind myself not to beat up on me so hard. But it is difficult , life seems harsher when there are extra challenges such as these .the only thing I can do is take it one day at a time.
  16. Ali16

    Ali16 Senior Contributor

    My mental illness has definitely impacted my addictions. When I get manic, I use because I don't care about things. When I get depressed, I engage in behavioral addictions to try and make myself feel better. Recently, I had a psychotic episode and I was highly considering using drugs to attempt to self medicate. I have to think that without my mental illness, I wouldn't have my addiction issues.
  17. LeonasSword

    LeonasSword Active Contributor

    It's authentically a chicken and egg question between addiction and phrenic 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 phrenic illnesses like dementia (customarily later in life), bi-polarity and schizophrenia.
  18. kgord

    kgord Community Champion

    yes, self medicaing with alcohol is osmethng that is very popular wiht thos who have mental health issues. The alcholhol helps them feel more normal, but it is a fallacy. Added to to the effects of pyschotropic meds it just inst a smart thing for people to be drinking alchohl on top of medication.