Substance Use Disorders
Mental health challenges sometimes are connected to substance abuse disorders. A person with a mental illness may turn to the use of alcohol or other drugs as a form of coping, or as an escape mechanism. They may be unaware of the possible consequences of taking medication while also using alcohol.
Recent studies indicate that more than 25 percent of people with mental health conditions also have substance abuse disorders.
Co-occurring Mental Illness and Substance Abuse Disorders
- Depression – currently affects more than 20 million people in the United States. People with depression may feel sad and/or experience loss of energy. They may also lose interest in things and activities that they once enjoyed, such as hobbies. Depression also may lead to sleep and weight problems. In extreme cases, an individual may have feelings of worthlessness that may develop into suicidal thoughts.
- Anxiety Disorder – is a condition in which an individual experiences severe panic when faced with a particular situation. The response is beyond the individual’s control. Even if the person is aware that the response is inappropriate, they still will not be able to prevent being overcome with fear and dread.
- Schizophrenia – is a lifelong condition that is still not fully understood. Most people who have it believe that there are people inside them who are trying to control their minds. People with schizophrenia may experience frequent hallucinations and often have difficulty telling what is real and what is not. Medications that reduce the frequency of hallucinations are available, though there is no cure.
- Personality Disorders – can cause a person to exhibit inappropriate patterns of behavior, feelings and thinking that negatively affect their life, particularly in personal and social interactions. The individual may exhibit outbursts of unstable emotions (Borderline Personality Disorder) or an inexplicable desire to manipulate and exploit other people (Antisocial Personality Disorder).
Individuals with mental illnesses and substance abuse disorders should receive proper treatment for both conditions. Sandhills Center can help you find a service provider to guide you through rehabilitation, medication, therapy and support.