How Addiction Affects Mental Health

Understanding how addiction affects mental health is crucial in crafting effective treatment plans and supporting individuals on their journey toward recovery. It allows clinicians to address not only the physical symptoms of addiction but also the underlying psychological issues that often accompany substance abuse, leading to a more comprehensive and holistic approach to recovery.

Substance Addiction and mental health go hand in hand. In fact, a diagnosed addiction is a specified type of mental disorder. At Emerge Healing Center in Alpharetta, GA, we understand the profound impact addiction can have on mental health. We are committed to addressing the intricate relationship between addiction and mental health, providing comprehensive care for individuals seeking recovery.

To fully understand how addiction affects mental health, you need to understand what a Substance Use Disorder (addiction) is.

What is a Substance Use Disorder?

The National Institute of Mental Health tells us that a Substance Use Disorder (SUD) is a mental disorder that affects a person’s brain and behavior, leading to a person’s inability to control their use of substances such as legal or illegal drugs, alcohol, or medications. The most severe form of SUD is addiction. It’s also common for people to experience addiction in conjunction with other mental disorders. That’s why we also treat dual diagnoses at Emerge Healing Center.

Now that you know what a SUD is, we can dive deeper into its effects on mental health.

Mental Disorders and Addiction

Addiction is a complex condition that doesn’t exist in isolation; it intertwines with mental health in significant ways. Addicts often have co-occurring mental disorders such as anxiety disorders, depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, personality disorder, ADHD, and others. Unfortunately, it’s common for someone who gets treated for a substance addiction to not get treated for these other possible disorders

Here’s how addiction can affect mental health:

  1. Co-occurring Disorders: Substance addiction often coexists with mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). These conditions can be either pre-existing or develop as a result of the addiction. The presence of both addiction and mental health disorders is referred to as a dual diagnosis or co-occurring disorder.
  2. Self-Medication: Many individuals turn to substances to self-medicate and alleviate symptoms of mental health issues. They may use drugs or alcohol as a temporary escape from emotional pain, anxiety, or depression. However, substance use only provides temporary relief and can worsen underlying mental health conditions in the long run.
  3. Chemical Imbalances: Prolonged substance abuse alters the brain’s chemistry, leading to imbalances in neurotransmitters, such as dopamine and serotonin. These imbalances can contribute to mood swings, emotional instability, and other mental health symptoms. Restoring the brain’s chemical balance is a crucial part of the recovery process.
  4. Increased Risk of Mental Health Disorders: Addiction increases the risk of developing mental health disorders. Substance abuse can disrupt brain function, impair decision-making abilities, and lead to changes in behavior and cognition. These factors make individuals more vulnerable to the onset or worsening of mental health issues.
  5. Impact on Relationships and Well-being: Addiction often strains relationships, leading to feelings of guilt, shame, and isolation. The deterioration of social connections and support systems can contribute to the development or exacerbation of mental health problems. Additionally, addiction can negatively impact overall well-being, self-esteem, and one’s sense of purpose.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment Program at Emerge

Our Dual Diagnosis Treatment Program at Emerge Healing Center, Alpharetta, GA, recognizes the importance of treating both conditions concurrently for effective and lasting recovery. This program is specially designed to address both mental health and addiction issues, providing an all-inclusive healing experience that takes into account the physical, psychological, social, and emotional aspects of recovery.

  • Individualized Treatment Plans: No two individuals are alike; hence, no two treatment plans should be alike. We create personalized treatment plans based on each person’s unique needs, taking into account their substance abuse patterns, mental health condition(s), personal history, and recovery goals.
  • Integrated Treatment Approach: We employ evidence-based therapies that treat addiction and mental health disorders concurrently, recognizing that these conditions often influence each other.
  • Specialized Therapeutic Support: Our team of skilled professionals is trained in managing dual diagnosis cases, ensuring that clients receive the appropriate support they need to manage and overcome their conditions.
  • Holistic Healing: We emphasize holistic healing that fosters physical wellness, mental clarity, emotional stability, and spiritual growth. This includes mindfulness techniques, exercise and nutrition guidance, expressive therapies, and more.
  • Continued Care: Recovery doesn’t end after treatment completion. We provide ongoing support to help our clients maintain their progress and manage their well-being in the long term.

At Emerge Healing Center, we recognize the vital importance of simultaneously addressing addiction and mental health. Our integrated approach to treatment ensures that individuals receive comprehensive care for both conditions. We look at the whole picture. No matter which condition came first, or even if you aren’t sure which came first, continued drug abuse will only continue to harm your mental health.

Getting Treatment

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, nearly half of all people in the U.S. with a drug addiction also suffer from at least one mental health condition. Emerge Healing Center is here to help with compassionate care with our dual diagnosis treatment in Georgia. Our caring and experienced staff are here to answer any questions you may have about the treatment process, as well as help you to decide on the right treatment path for your individual needs.

We’re committed to helping individuals reclaim their lives from the clutches of addiction while addressing the impact on their mental health. Contact us today to learn more, and let us help arm you with all of the tools you need to be successful in recovery.

More Dual Diagnosis Treatment Resources

If you’d like to learn more about the connection between mental health and addiction, then read some of our informative articles on the topic below. We dive into every aspect of co-occurring mental health and substance use disorders so that we can answer any questions you may have.