Can Substance Abuse Worsen Mental Health?


Mental Health stamp

When the consequences of substance abuse are discussed, images of the physical effects to the body are likely the first to emerge. Contraction of illnesses, heart irregularities and heart attacks, respiratory problems, abdominal pain, kidney and liver damage, seizures, strokes, brain damage and changes in appetite are just a few widely-known effects of severe and prolonged substance abuse. Although these are incredibly important concerns to address when it comes to recovery and medical attention, the psychological effects are just as important.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) has noted that chronic use of substance can alter brain activity and neural pathways, leading a person to potentially develop a mental disorder or symptoms of one. Paranoia, depression, anxiety, aggression, hallucinations, and more are all possibilities; research has shown that individuals with addiction are twice as likely to experience mood and/or anxiety disorders than those that do not abuse substances. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has noted the following drugs that have been known to incite mental disorders:

  • Cocaine
  • Inhalants
  • Ketamine
  • Kratom
  • LSD
  • Marijuana
  • MDMA
  • Methamphetamine
  • PCP
  • Prescription stimulants
  • Steroids

How does someone become susceptible to either an addiction or mental disorder? A person becomes vulnerable through underlying brain deficits, genetic dispositions and/or early traumatic experiences. Environmental influencers and personality tendencies can also cause a person to be more vulnerable towards an addiction and/or mental disorder. SAMHSA states that in the past year, 20.2 million adults had a substance use disorder, and 7.9 million of those individuals had both a mental disorder and a substance use disorder.

Treatment typically involves both medication and psychotherapy, a form of “talk therapy” that allows people to learn more about their disorder and how their behaviors are impacting them and their loved one’s lives. Cognitive behavioral therapy, for example, is an excellent way to change negative, unproductive patterns of behavior and ways of thinking into newer, more positive ones. If you haven’t yet, make the decision to seek treatment today – your well-being and happiness might depend on it.

Simple Recovery is a world-renowned, California state-licensed substance abuse recovery treatment center. We offer dual diagnosis treatment, so if you are experiencing both substance abuse and symptoms of a mental disorder, call us today at 888-743-0490 so that we can work with you to restore your happiness, health, and well-being. You do not have to continue living this way; there are many people here ready to help you.