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Mental Illness and Substance Abuse

Discussion in 'Share Your Story Here' started by kgord, Sep 22, 2015.

  1. kgord

    kgord Community Champion

    From your own personal experience, or from those you know, how closely do you think mental illness and substance abuse are linked? I think in many cases, but not all, substance abuse does have something to do with mental illness,,,and especially depression and anxiety. It seems to be much more common in those that have some sort of MH disorder as opposed to society at large.
  2. missbishi

    missbishi Community Champion

    I reckon there's a very close link. Have you ever looked at a meth addict (or whoever) and thought "You must be crazy to do that!"? Maybe that's just it. Of course, "crazy" is not the best word to use at all but it's likely that people turn to drugs in an attempt to cope with feelings of depression and anxiety.
    JonnyMacdonald likes this.
  3. xTinx

    xTinx Community Champion

    It's like the usual chicken-and-egg question. One or the other could come first. For instance, I know of a relative - God rest his soul - who, according to those he lived with, developed Schizophrenia from abusing a particular substance when he was still in medical school. There was another person who already had anxiety problems before becoming a substance abuser. His parents were separated and he was the second youngest in the family. It was hard for him to cope up with his situation so I guess in a bid to escape, he took drugs.

    Although it pays to know which came first to be able to come up with the right kind of treatment, what's more important is that those people receive enough support from their loved ones. They cannot recover on their own.
    JonnyMacdonald likes this.
  4. MyDigitalpoint

    MyDigitalpoint Community Champion

    Agree with @missbishi when it comes to mental illness and substance abuse correlating, but not necessarily being the result of one or another.

    I have seen people suffering from mental illness that never underwent substance abuse, and others that being abusers, never developed a mental illness and yet were able to get fully recovered from their addictions.

    Even though some individuals might not be so lucky and could end up developing a mental illness as result of their addictions, while mentally-ill people might fall in substance abuse in their need to find mental lucidity.
    JonnyMacdonald likes this.
  5. deanokat

    deanokat DrugAbuse.com Community Organizer Community Listener

    I think some sort of mental illness--especially depression--is responsible for a majority of people turning to drugs and alcohol. People who are depressed want desperately to feel "normal," and they oftentimes turn to self-medication to try and achieve that normalcy. I know that was the case with my son. I believe if more people sought help for their mental health issues earlier on, it would go a long way to decreasing the drug addiction problem we have in this country. Just my $0.02.
    JonnyMacdonald likes this.
  6. Jasmine2015

    Jasmine2015 Community Champion

    I agree with other posters here. Sometimes you may already have the mental illness, sometimes it's the result of drugs. If using drugs is a means of self medicating then maybe we need to start looking for healthier alternatives and then pass that knowledge on to the youth.
    JonnyMacdonald likes this.
  7. zaerine

    zaerine Community Champion

    I think there relationship between addiction and mental illness is really close. It could be there is mental illness before the addiction and vice versa. Addiction can or might cause various health issues and that includes mental illness.
    JonnyMacdonald and deanokat like this.
  8. JonnyMacdonald

    JonnyMacdonald Community Champion

    There is a huge link!
    It goes both ways too.
    Sometimes people turn to substance abuse to cope with mental illness and sometimes mental illness is caused by substance abuse. Sometimes it's kind of both mixed together.
    You have to look at it as a whole, they are so intertwined.
  9. anorexorcist

    anorexorcist Community Champion

    I agree with you, I'm not a doctor but I'm studying psychology, so I have knowledges about neurology, and what I've heard is that some drugs such as marijuana and heroine really messes up with your brain, it has something to do with the neurotransmitters, they work differently depending the substance that you're using and that could lead to affect your grey and white matter who is linked to the general and fundamental function of the brain.
  10. sillylucy

    sillylucy Community Champion

    I really think that people who are mentally ill usually turn to substance abuse. Mental illness runs in my family and most of them drink to cope. I have a bunch of uncles who have OCD and they all drink. It helps to slow their minds. They drink or smoke weed.
  11. dyanmarie25

    dyanmarie25 Community Champion

    They can be correlated. However, we must not jump to conclusions right away and assume that a person who has substance abuse issues already has mental problems. But yeah, most people would find comfort in drugs and alcohol. These things give them some sort of pleasure which helps them forget about the cruel world.
  12. Rainman

    Rainman Community Champion

    There certainly is a link between substance abuse and mental illness.

    It [substance abuse] can either bring on mental illness [you've heard substance-induced mental illnesses/disorders] or exacerbate an already existing mental illness.

    Oh by the way, addiction itself is considered to be a mental illness.
  13. ReadmeByAmy

    ReadmeByAmy Community Champion

    When we saw people who are suffering from any kind of addiction we should never easily judge them at once. We really do not know what is bothering them and the reason why they used to engaged themselves to that kind of addiction. I knew some of us easily thought that they are suffering from mental problems already but like what I had said we do not have the reason to think that way or criticize them but instead pray for their recovery for a new and better life.
  14. Adrianna

    Adrianna Community Champion

    They are right on top of each other. Usually pills or drugs can cause most mental illness. Certainly lead to it. Its not normal to treat ailments with chemicals. Makes no sense.
    Good food and exercise. Good people to surround yourself with. Parents who have mental problems tend to disrupt the development of children's thinking and minds. This needs to be taken into consideration. Awareness is key. The slew of side effects from any street drug is a complete path to mental instability. Prescription drugs are no better in that way. Diet pills is another one. I watched a woman going from acting completely normal to doing some off the chart things. Of course when you are messing with diet pills and not eating properly your brain goes all over the map. Most mental illness can be traced back to some kind of drug or another. Antibiotic or even a prescription cough medicine. Most people don't even think of it. Detox and cleanse the body, it will come around.