It is common for mental health issues and substance use disorders to occur simultaneously. This is due to a number of factors.
Mental health problems share many of the underlying causes of substance use disorders – including genetic vulnerabilities, exposure to trauma or stress whilst at a young age and alterations to brain composition.
Mental health issues can lead to drug or alcohol abuse and addiction, as individuals with a mental health problem often turn to drugs and alcohol as a kind of self-medication. Some illegal drugs can cause addicts to experience the symptoms of mental health problems.
It’s an unfortunate fact that more than one in four people experiencing serious mental health problems is also experiencing a substance use problem.
Conditions like personality disorders, schizophrenia, anxiety disorders and depression are commonly diagnosed amongst these individuals.
Mental Health and Substance use disorder
Broadly, there are three different indicators of when someone is suffering from an addiction or a substance use disorder. Behavioural changes, physical changes and social changes.
Whilst some changes are more serious than others, an addiction can completely take over someone’s life and destroy it in a matter of weeks.
Behavioural changes are often the most troubling to an addict and their friends and loved ones, who may witness a total transformation of a person.
Co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders often go hand in hand, and an individual experiencing these symptoms may become anxious, fearful or paranoid with no good reason.
They may also experience a lack of motivation, which can lead to a significant drop in performance in work, and attendance too. Someone of previous good character may find themselves getting into trouble (such as having increased numbers of fights or engaging in illegality) and being extremely secretive and behaving suspiciously. Erratic behaviour is common and there are sudden angry outbursts, general irritability, and mood swings.
A person’s total personality can change very quickly as a result of an addiction or a substance use disorder, as well as their attitude. You may also notice someone’s sleeping patterns or appetite changing significantly, as well as unusual periods of giddiness, being agitated or hyperactive.
There are also social changes to someone’s life if they are enveloped by a substance use disorder. They may find themselves using substances even though it causes well documented troubles in relationships with friends and loved ones.
There are also unexplained financial problems and a constant need to be lent money, a sudden change in friends, hobbies and places they spend a lot of time, and a spate of legal problems that are related to substance use.
Physical changes will also occur. You may notice someone’s weight fluctuate significantly in a small space of time, both in terms of weight loss and weight gain and as part of a general deterioration in physical appearance.
Clothes and breath might reveal unusual smells and abnormally sized pupils and bloodshot eyes are a significant indication of someone experiencing an addiction or a substance use disorder.
Additionally, someone might have impaired co-ordination, slurred speech or tremors that they have not previously had.
An addiction can rip through someone’s life in a very short period of time, so being able to identify these symptoms is extremely important and are an indicator of when you need to act – either for your welfare, or someone that you care about.
Mental Health and Drug Addiction
At Nova Recovery, we understand the devastation that an addiction or a substance use disorder can cause. Often an addict does not appreciate the damage they are causing – not only to themselves but to the people they love the most. Witnessing someone you care about destroy their own life is a deeply difficult thing to experience.
If you are concerned about the welfare of a loved one, friend or colleague, why not call us today for a no obligation conversation about your worries? Our 24/7 helpline is staffed by people who understand your concerns.
Many people who contact us are concerned about their children. Mental health and substance use in teenagers, and adolescence substance use and mental health problems are a big concern.
Teenage years are highly formative years of a person’s life and experimentation with substances can very quickly lead to something altogether more dangerous if left unchecked. If you have any concerns or queries, why not call Nova Recovery today?
By calling us on 01475 303998, we can discuss your worries with you and if intervention might be required, we will help you with that process and put practical steps in place to help the person you’re worried about – whether that be yourself or a loved one.
Mental Health and Substance Abuse
When assessing the kind of treatment required, it is essential that mental health and substance use dual diagnosis takes place. A dual diagnosis will allow separate treatment for any underlying mental health problems and an addiction.
Whilst the symptoms may be similar and the causes intrinsically linked, all too often only an addiction is treated and not the mental health condition.
This is a particular fault with NHS treatments, wherein your addiction is treated, but the mental health condition is not considered. More often than not, the mental health condition is what has triggered the addiction in the first place.
Only treating one condition, and not both, significantly increases the likelihood of a relapse in the future and a return to the despair of substance abuse. Treatment for dual diagnosis consists of a mixture of therapies, support groups, rehabilitation and some medication.
At Nova Recovery, we will ensure you have the treatment that you need to overcome your addiction and move forward in life free of the influence of drugs or alcohol. We treat everyone as an individual and your treatment plan is bespoke to your needs.
So if you are worried about your own use of drugs or alcohol, or you’re concerned about the welfare of a friend or loved one, please call Nova Recovery today.Back to all posts