Is There A Link Between Addiction And Mental Illness?

Therapy session with woman on couch

A 2014 study conducted by researchers from Maryland and published in the journal Psychiatry Services sought to explore current attitudes by the public on those with addiction and/or mental illness. Results from the study indicated that American society tends to have significantly more negative views towards those with drug addiction compared to those with mental illness. Despite stark differences in perception, is there a link between addiction and mental illness? Should they be considered one and the same?

There are clear differences between each term; for example, addiction is often considered a brain disease in which a person engages in compulsive substance use despite harmful consequences. Mental illness, on the other hand, often entails various health conditions that affects a person’s thinking, feeling, or mood. While there are obvious differences, the two are linked. For example, previous research has shown overlaps between the two; many people with mental illness self-medicate through use of substances, leading them to develop an addiction. On the opposite end, many people with addiction develop mental illnesses that derive from symptoms that initially occurred because of drug use.

When both an addiction and mental illness occur within a person, such as alcoholism and bipolar disorder, this is called a dual diagnosis. Treatment for this is recommended to take place in a reputable treatment center that specializes specifically in dual diagnoses – otherwise, a person may only get treated for one disorder, causing a worsening of symptoms in the other at hand. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), an estimated 17.5 million Americans each year have a serious mental illness, while 4 million of these individuals also experience a co-occurring substance use disorder (SUD).

If you’ve been struggling with a mental illness and/or SUD, it’s important to seek treatment right away. Residential programs provide housing and food while you attend various recovery-related sessions, and outpatient programs require that you attend sessions several times a week while returning home in the evenings. Speak with a professional from a reputable treatment center today to learn more about how you can incorporate recovery into your life.

Simple Recovery is a world-renowned, California state-licensed substance abuse recovery 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.