The most common reason for substance abuse isn’t due to peer pressure or because of some type of moral failing. The leading cause of substance abuse is because of mental illness. Many people who begin abusing drugs are trying to self-medicate depression, anxiety, trauma, or some other form of mental illness. While the substances give a sort of short-term relief, they eventually worsen mental health disorders. Knowing how drugs affect mental illness can help you have a better understanding of addiction and how to recover.
Here’s How Drugs Affect Mental Illness
When you ask, “Do drugs affect mental illness?,” it’s important to first know how mental illness works and why it happens. Depending on the form of mental illness, there can be a variety of sources. Many of the leading psychologists believe in the biopsychosocial model of mental illness as well as addiction.
Biology can play a role in mental illness, so your chances are higher if you have people in your family who struggle with mental illness. Parents can “pass” on their likelihood of mental illness to their children. Disorders that run in families can include:
In fact, scientists recently discovered that trauma can affect a child if the parent went through it because of the changes that occur in the brain after a traumatic event. Anxiety and depression can be due to a lack of neurotransmitter production, but biological factors are only one piece of the puzzle.
Other Factors That Impact How Drugs Affect Mental Illness
The biopsychosocial model takes a look at the psychological and social factors as well. Sigmund Freud popularized the psychological part of mental illness, and since then we have learned that poor thinking and behavioral patterns can result in the development of a disorder like anxiety and depression. Attachment issues growing up can also affect whether a person has a personality disorder. Social factors can also come into play, so living in a toxic environment or having poor life circumstances can increase the chances of mental illness.
Turning to substances is a result of a person not having better coping skills or resources to treat their mental illness. Therapy and medications can be extremely helpful, but drugs can give spikes of dopamine and oxytocin to make a person feel euphoric for a brief period. Unfortunately, with how drugs affect mental illness, the brain stops functioning properly in the long-term.
Treating Mental Illness and Addiction
To recover from an addiction and mental illness, you need the assistance of a dual-diagnosis treatment center. This type of facility helps you manage and overcome symptoms of mental illness as well as your struggles with addiction. When you enter the treatment facility, you’ll learn about how these drugs have affected your brain. You’ll discover how long-term substance abuse has diminished the brain’s ability to create neurotransmitters like dopamine, serotonin, norepinephrine and others by changing your hedonic set point. The good news is that treatment can help.
As you continue the program, your brain will begin to heal. Early recovery is rough, but you’ll quickly see the effects of sobriety and using healthy coping skills. In some cases, medications are necessary. For example, anti-depressants can help counteract the effects of long-term substances abuse and assist the brain in the healing process.
Starting the Road to Recovery
Encore Health Group is a mental health facility that can help you begin to live a better life. We have a team of licensed professionals who are passionate about helping people see that a great life awaits each and every person struggling with mental illness. The days of using drugs to manage your mental illness will disappear as you receive the treatment you need to manage your mental health.