Mental health disorders are often linked with substance abuse. This issue has captured notable attention in recent years. Many mental and medical approaches have been developed. We have applied these to support people with complex issues.
What is substance abuse?
Substance abuse develops when a person is unable to control the use of substances. This includes alcohol, drugs, or medications. Substance abuse can have different levels. Addiction is a more severe form. Additionally, substance abuse occurs when alcohol, drugs, or prescription medicine is consumed. Usually in a way that is damaging to an individual.
Substance abuse is not exactly the same as addiction. Addiction is much harder to give up on. Usually, it has more damaging and lasting consequences. Drugs that are commonly abused are alcohol, prescription medicine, heroin, cocaine, and marijuana.
These substances can affect how one’s mind and body function. They usually help in reducing stress quickly. Most substance abuse cases start out of curiosity, recreational or experimental use. Later, they progress to more severe levels with more dangerous consequences.
Substance abuse symptoms
Substance abuse symptoms in most cases include numerous and easy-to-spot physical and behavioral symptoms.
Physical symptoms usually include:
- Inability to sleep
- Loss of appetite
- Urge to use the substance daily
- Unusual hyperactivity
- Red eyes and pupils that are wider or smaller than average
- Sweaty palms and shaking hands
- Poor physical condition
- Vomiting and nausea
- Needle marks
- Disoriented walk
Behavioral symptoms usually include:
- Obsessive thoughts about drugs
- Spending more and more money on drugs, often causes stealing and borrowing
- Increased risky activities and other impulsive behavior
- Removal from daily obligations, friends, and family
- Difficulty in paying attention and concentrating
- Lack of motivation and energy
- Irritability and swift mood changes
- Change in the friend’s circle
- Dishonesty and paranoid behavior
- Change in the grooming habits
The link between substance abuse and mental health disorders
Research has shown that there is a link between mental health disorders and substance abuse. It is easier for individuals to develop substance abuse when there is already an underlying mental health disorder. Moreover, the likelihood of one condition makes the symptoms of others more notable.
Many people who develop substance abuse disorders also have some mental health disorders. The number is really significant, and some studies suggest that around 50% of those who experience substance abuse will also have some mental health disorder, and vice versa.
Researchers have identified that commonly; drug use starts in adolescence. Unsurprisingly, this is the period when the first signs of mental health issues also often occur. Early drug use is a sign that substance abuse disorders are more likely to develop later. Also, it can contribute to the growth of mental health issues later in life.
However, we also need to take into consideration other factors. These include genetic factors, environmental and psychological factors.
Moreover, it is confirmed that having mental health disorders at an early age can increase the risk of drug use later in adolescence.
Different theories about the origin of mental illness and substance abuse connection
Although mental illnesses and substance abuse go hand in hand. However, it does not necessarily mean that one always causes another. Therefore, researchers identified 3 possible scenarios that can explain this connection in more detail:
- Risk factors that contribute to both conditions – the risk factors that are responsible for both substance abuse and mental illnesses can act simultaneously (genes, environmental or psychological factors)
- Mental illness contributes to later drug use – some people with mental health disorders can use drugs, alcohol, or other substances as a form of self-help and get temporary relief from their symptoms.
- Substance abuse can contribute to mental illness occurrence – substance use can impact the brain, its chemistry, and how the brain functions, which can lead to mental illnesses.
Possible causes of correlation between substance abuse and mental health issues
The brain of people who struggle with substance abuse function differently. Therefore, these are long-term changes in most cases. What is interesting here is that changes happen in the parts of the brain that are also impacted by certain mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. Moreover, people with certain mental health conditions will turn to substance use to try to reduce the symptoms and regain peace.
There is some evidence that shows that both mental health disorders and substance abuse are caused either by the same brain structure that exists in those patients, by some genetic factors, or by early trauma.
Many areas of the brain are equally impacted by both substance abuse and mental health issues. For example, dealing with emotions, impulse control, and decision-making can be affected by both substance abuse and in some mental health disorders.
Research suggests that there are some genes that can increase the risk for both mental health issues and substance abuse. Those genes are in charge of neurotransmitters and take care of their proper functioning. Substance abuse can negatively affect the functioning of neurotransmitters, and some mental health illnesses can also dysregulate them.
Chronic stress and trauma in childhood
Chronic stress and experienced trauma from an early age are also responsible for this correlation between substance abuse and mental illnesses. Early episodes of severe stress can also modify how certain brain parts function, how emotions are processed, and how a person reacts to different stimuli.
Main types of substances
The main issue with using marijuana is that it is treated as a recreational drug. Many people ignore its addictive nature of it. Moreover, the issue with marijuana is peer pressure, which is very frequent in the adolescent years. One of the notable symptoms of the negative influence of marijuana is neglecting everyday activities. Due to this, instant changes in mood, and withdrawal from the activities a person enjoyed before using marijuana are common.
Alcohol is an omnipresent substance legal for adults over the age of 21. However, it is not that difficult to come to the point where you had too much alcohol. Usually, it manifests in the following ways: slurred speech, slow reflexes, gaps in memory, difficulties concentrating, and risky behavior. Also, drinking is a desirable activity for people of all ages. People are encouraged to drink on different occasions, at parties, at celebrations, etc. It may be hard to say no to alcohol on such occasions. Therefore, drinking alcohol starts as a harmless activity in most cases. However, it can develop into more severe forms with numerous consequences. People with different mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety are prone to using alcohol to reduce the tension within them.
Prescription drug abuse
Using prescription medication in a way not intended by the doctor who prescribed it is substance abuse. This is a rising problem that can affect different age groups. This kind of substance abuse includes anti-anxiety medication, painkillers, and sedatives in most cases. People who already have a sort of mental health disorder can only make their condition worse by not consuming the medication properly. As a result, their condition declines and becomes worse.
Heroin enters the brain rapidly and can cause quick addiction. People who use it often develop a tolerance for it. That means that they will need more and more of it to get the same effect. Consequently, over recent years, heroin overdose has become quite common.
Cocaine reacts with the brain in a way that produces high energy and euphoria. Even these days, when the majority of people are aware of the consequences of cocaine use, many still experiment with it. People consume it since it acts as a stimulant but are unaware of the severe side effects. Cocaine abuse is highly dangerous because it can lead to heart failure.
How does treating substance abuse help and reduce the comorbidity of mental health disorders?
Co-occurring mental health disorders may be hard to diagnose due to their complexity. In some cases, symptoms of both conditions overlap or are quite similar. Sometimes people can receive treatment for one condition, while the other remains overlooked.
However, for the best outcome, it is highly beneficial for a client to treat both conditions at the same time. This kind of integrated treatment can improve the success of counseling for substance abuse and mental health disorders. No matter what came first: substance abuse, or mental health disorder, with an integrated approach provided by the same treatment provider or addictions counselor, a patient has the biggest chance to recover fully and lastingly.
Here are some tips on choosing the best treatment option for both conditions:
- The treatment offers both substance abuse help and treatment for the mental health disorder
- Make sure that the treatment is licensed, accredited, and backed by research
- The treatment includes developing healthy coping skills and mechanisms to minimize substance abuse
What do treatment and substance abuse help look like?
Detoxication, behavioral therapy, medication, and support groups are vital parts of counseling for substance abuse in Riverside, Il. Most clients will need long-term support to stop using drugs completely. Effective treatment will help a person stop using drugs, stay drug-free, and regain control over their life. Usually, the best approach is a regular follow-up from the support team with the program that is tailored to the individual.
Detoxication is the first step toward sobriety. The main purpose of detoxication is to safely remove the substances from the body and help in managing withdrawal symptoms. Detoxication prevents potentially dangerous complications of substance withdrawal and helps a patient remain calm while the substance leaves his/her body.
Behavioral therapy and counseling for substance abuse can help a person feel appreciated, understood, and heard. Behavioral therapy is directed towards modifying the attitudes and behaviors of a patient towards drugs. It also helps in developing other and healthier coping mechanisms.
Research has shown that some medications can be effective in treating substance abuse in a way to reduce or mollify unpleasant withdrawal symptoms and prevent relapse in adult patients.
Support groups – the value of a community of people going through similar life difficulties is precious. Support groups allow people to connect, build mutual trust, and share their personal experiences. When cravings occur, support groups are usually the first point of contact and support. Therefore, support groups can reduce the risk of relapsing.
Substance Abuse Help in Chicago, Il for Mental Health Disorders
As in substance abuse, treatments for mental health disorders differ, and there isn’t one best choice. Usually, treatment includes a combination of a few approaches: psychotherapy, medication, hospitalization, and support groups.
Psychotherapy is a continuous therapeutic treatment with a trained mental health professional. The aim of psychotherapy is to improve the overall well-being of a patient while exploring his thoughts, emotions, and behaviors.
Medication cannot cure the mental illness itself but can help with the management of the symptoms, which is an important step in overcoming the illness, in combination with other techniques.
In some cases, hospitalization is necessary, and the benefits of it are the ability to closely monitor the condition of a patient, adjust the therapy, and find a proper diagnosis.
Support groups also have a high significance in making meaningful connections with other people with similar life experiences.
In addition to choosing the right treatment, there are also some useful self-help tips you can utilize to learn how to cope with life difficulties more efficiently and make better decisions.
- Learn to understand unpleasant feelings – avoid covering up the negative emotions with alcohol or other substances
- Understand your triggers – identify what causes your most intense symptoms of mental illness, and develop a plan on how to avoid it
- Reconnect with friends and family for support
- Attend the regular psychotherapy sessions and talk about your issues openly
- Stay in support groups – staying in a support group improves the chances of staying sober
- Follow your doctor’s advice and take your medication regularly – because if you do not your mental illness can take a wild turn
- Learn how to relax in a healthy way – try meditation, mindfulness, deep breathing, yoga
- Exercise regularly – because exercising is a natural way of stress reduction
- Educate yourself – learn what you can about your condition to better understand yourself and your needs
- Get regular sleep
- Avoid triggers that urge you to take drugs – avoid everything that urges you to use drugs, whether it might be places, people, or situations
- Find new, interesting activities and hobbies that you will enjoy
Begin Counseling for Substance Abuse and Mental Health Disorders at PsycHealth, in Chicago, IL
Our trained professionals at PsycHealth Services in Chicago, Il & Riverside, IL can provide you with a treatment plan and give you the support you need to improve your wellbeing. Therapy is usually a large part of an effective treatment plan that helps people with dual diagnoses learn how to cope and change ineffective patterns of thinking. Our therapists and addictions counselors would be honored to walk alongside you as you begin to cope with your mental health disorders and substance abuse. At PsycHealth Services we offer in-person and online therapy sessions, if you’re interested in substance abuse help, then follow these simple steps:
- Contact PsycHealth Services
- Meet with one of our skilled therapists or addictions counselors
- Begin to understand your emotions while making balanced and thoughtful decisions
Other Therapy services at PsycHealth Services
At PsycHealth Inc, we offer a wide range of services that help couples, parents, teens, and those looking to get control over mental health disorders that are holding them back. If you are interested in getting support with anxiety, depression, trauma, and substance abuse help, then you’re in the right place. Additional services we can support you with include therapy for teens, counseling for parents, Therapy for weight management, anxiety treatment, depression counseling, stress therapy, and postpartum depression treatment.
Additionally, we offer online therapy in Chicago, IL, Riverside, IL, and in-person therapy. Get started today and begin your therapy journey in Riverside, Berwyn, Lyons, Brookfield, Stickney, or anywhere in the state of Illinois. We look forward to holding space for you no matter where you’re coming from. Call now!