An American Addiction Centers Resource

New to the Forums?Join or

Mental Health and Drug abuse

Discussion in 'Dual-Diagnosis Treatment' started by DaniMiranda, Oct 27, 2014.

  1. Mockingbird

    Mockingbird Member

    Boy this sure is a loaded gun, sort of the chicken before the egg argument. It seems many posters have the idea that mental health issues lead to substance abuse. I am not sure that I agree with that sentiment. Mental health issues are a very broad spectrum of things and causes, some are behavioral and some are thought to be biological. What Peninha said is so true Life is stressful!! Sometimes we do just lose it, but this is a temporary state, what that means is maybe you have a day or two that's off but you bounce back. Maybe you need to have a beer or a glass of wine, but you don't need it everyday just to function or to keep from getting sick.

    I think what I am trying to say is mental illness does not always mean that you will become a substance abuser. I was told once that the reason most people self medicate is to kill the pain- well I guess each of us has to be real with what the cause of that pain really is. No surprise the surge of painkiller abuse.
  2. Zyni

    Zyni Community Champion

    Well, I don't think the "there is a pill for everything" mentality is helping any of us. It's too easy to pop a pill to fix this or that problem, which can very easily lead to dependency. I don't think most of the mental health drugs are very "healthy" to begin with. It isn't surprising that people would want to take something else that makes them feel good.
  3. Mockingbird

    Mockingbird Member

    I agree Zyni, it seems these days we are way to quick to just pop a pill, or send to some self help group or whatever. I remember when my son was young he was very rambunctious, a teacher called and suggest I have him tested for ADHD because he was very active and quite the handful. Well I took him to the pediatrician who was very conservative. he assured me that the way my child was, is normal for boys his age. He believed to many children are medicated needlessly, That- needless medication- sets up a a cycle that is hard to break. Have a cold? get a pill, if in pain pop some pills, want to lose weight- it goes on and on.
  4. juno

    juno Community Champion

    I think it can go many ways. Often times those who are seeking help for their mental health issues get addicted to prescription drugs. Particularly those who are given modes to relax or stay calm. It think others with mental health problems who don't get help seek out drugs as a source of getting away from the issue and then get addicted. Then there are those who are users and develop mental health problems as some drugs that can eventually lead to mental health problems like hallucinogens.
  5. RoseK

    RoseK Active Contributor

    I agree...but I think there is a difference between acknowledging your own weakness and seeing an intrinsicly imperfect world where nothing matters. You always have a choice in how you react..but the real important thing is to own your mistakes, forgive yourself, and keep going! It takes a lot of patience, acceptance and stubbornness but make no mistake: you are never alone in your battles.
  6. Peninha

    Peninha Community Champion

    True true, so true. The first step to solve a problem is to acknowledge it because when we do we immediately want to solve it, so it's a gradual process and every steps are important.
  7. Nichole W.

    Nichole W. Member

    There's also still a stigma around have mental issues and seeking help for them, and up until recently insurance plans (at least in the United States) did not have to offer addiction treatment or mental health services. Hopefully, with the recent health reform changes more people will be able to find and afford treatment.

    Mental health also needs to be brought out of the closet, figuratively speaking. For a long time it was considered unacceptable to talk about about these issues. They were the skeletons in the closet. Depression is still seen, if you believe the advertisements, a housewife's issue. Hopefully as we move forward society can start talking about these issues on a societal scale and normalize them as something we don't need to be ashamed of.
  8. Peninha

    Peninha Community Champion

    I think that some steps are being give, like the integration of education, but to be honest I am not really sure if that is something positive or not...
  9. bluedressed

    bluedressed Community Champion

    Well, I think they go often hand in hand for two main reasons: 1) many drugs will look like they trigger the mental health problem, causing psychosis and pushing schizophrenia, in some cases and 2) mentally ill people trying to self-medicate.

    I have antecedents of schizophrenia in my family and the few times I smoked even a little bit of weed, it hit me so hard and I was tripping in a way that was not like my friends, sure that reality was falling apart and I was so scared. It made me unsure even when I sobered up. I think it triggered something in my mind, even a bit. I did it again a few times, by curiosity. But since, it still scares me. That even the most harmless drug in the most harmless quantity fucks me.
  10. Peninha

    Peninha Community Champion

    I was just commenting on this in another thread, I feel that addicts usually stagnate emotionally, so their mental health is totally messed up and they need to be with people not addict to be back to normal.
  11. missbishi

    missbishi Community Champion

    This is why it is so important to get to the root cause of your addiction. If you cannot work out why you self-medicate, you stand to fail at the first hurdle. Have you ever heard someone talking about drugs and saying "You'd have to be crazy to want to take that stuff"? Of course, "crazy" isn't really the right word to use, but so many people with mental health problems use drugs as a way of trying to improve their situation or indeed block it out.
  12. Giftbearer

    Giftbearer Member

    I have a close friend I've known for 30 years who has been diagnosed with Schizoaffective Disorder (a mental illness that has both mood disorder elements like Bi-polar Disorder, and thought disorder elements like Schizophrenia). For probably 2/3 of the time I've known her her mental illness was not well-controlled. During that time she had developed alcoholism and was in and out of psych hospitals often. She heard voices, became delusional, changed jobs alot more often (or had to take sick time more often), and for quite awhile worked as a cocktail waitress (which exposed her to alcohol on a daily basis). The mental illness contributed to her alcoholism and her alcoholism exacerbated her mental illness, and so the two became intertwined.

    What we found was that the medications she was on really weren't working well enough so her drinking was an attempt for her to try to bridge the gap (even though it was actually making her condition worse), and so it wasn't until she got on more effective ones for her specific brain chemistry that she was able to stop drinking altogether.

    She is much more stable now than she was a few years ago.

    Today she doesn't drink for several reasons;

    1) because it makes her mental illness worse
    2) because most psych medications can have potentially dangerous side effects when used with alcohol
    3) some psych meds, like benzodiazepines for instance, have a potentiating effect and can actually increase the blood alcohol level resulting in a car accident and/or being pulled over and issued a DUI, and since she is a state employee in her current job that would likely end her career. The state has pretty strict requirements about drinking and driving and points on one's license.

    For alot of people with mental illness addiction is secondary to their mental illness and given the appropriate medication to control the illness they can beat the addiction if it hasn't gotten too severe yet.

    For those whose addictions have gone beyond that stage, especially in the more highly addictive drug categories such as meth, heroine, crack, and in some cases, Ecstasy (MDMA), the brain chemistry may become permanently altered and then you see some overlap in symptoms that are more difficult to differentiate the root cause of and treat effectively.

    Here a former user talks about her personal experience, what she did to heal the damage she suffered, and research she reviewed on the topic;

    I have read articles about the overuse of Ecstasy and its effects on the brain. This can result in the receptors for neurotransmitters such as Serotonin becoming "burnt out" and can illicit a drug induced depressive state that looks very much like clinical depression.

    Here is a very interesting article about the effects of Ecstasy on the brain as well as the effects of other drugs on mental illness and mental illness on the effects of drug use.

    There is some evidence that people who already have been diagnosed with a mental illness may have a worse reaction to drug abuse because their brain chemistry is already disordered.