Effects of Drug Use and Mental Health

The connection between drug use and mental health disorders is a powerful one.  Drug and alcohol addiction is itself included in the list of mental health disorders as defined in the DSM-5.  The presence of a co-occurring mental health disorder, also known as a dual diagnosis, only complicates an already complex problem.

Approximately 43 million adults in the U.S. are struggling with a mental health disorder, and of those, 8 million also have a substance use disorder, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.  The jury is still out on whether the mental health disorder originated first, then contributed to the development of a drug or alcohol use disorder, or if the substance use disorder triggered a resulting mental health disorder.  Regardless, both disorders must be treated together for a successful recovery outcome.

Can Drug Use Cause Mental Health Disorders?

There is evidence to suggest that certain drugs of abuse can indeed cause mental health disorders.  Hallucinogens and other substances and cause delirium, amnesia, psychotic disorder, anxiety disorder, major depressive disorder, perceptual disorders, dementia, and sleep disorders.  The effects of drug use and mental health can be seen in certain types of drugs, including:

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

In addition, some individuals who abuse other substances, such as alcohol, may develop mood disorders, such as depression and/or anxiety, in response to the cumulative effects and negative consequences of excessive consumption.

Can Mental Health Disorders Cause Substance Use Disorders?

Undiagnosed mental illness can produce such debilitating symptoms that using drugs or alcohol may be an attempt to self-medicate the pain away.  By numbing the uncomfortable symptoms that accompany major depression, trauma, phobias, panic disorder, or other anxiety disorders, individuals may build up a tolerance to the substance over time.  Needing more and more of the substance to continue to find symptom relief can ultimately result in an addiction or chemical dependency.

There are some common substance/mental health disorder combinations, including:

  • Depression and alcohol
  • Depression and marijuana
  • Anxiety and alcohol
  • Anxiety and benzodiazepines
  • PTSD and alcohol
  • Bipolar disorder and alcohol

Effects of Drug Use and Mental Health and Dual Diagnosis Treatment

Someone with a dual diagnosis presents certain complications to treatment, requiring a specialized recovery program that is designed to treat both drug use and mental health issues.  These programs usually provide a staff psychiatrist, a physician, as well as addiction professionals and clinicians.

Dual diagnosis treatment must begin with the detoxification phase of recovery.  It is always advisable to undergo detox and withdrawal in a medically supervised program, and even more important when there is a dual diagnosis.  This is because unpredictable psychological withdrawal symptoms could present, necessitating the need for a mental health professional to be present.

Once the drug and alcohol detox process is complete, the individual will be thoroughly evaluated and an individualized treatment plan is devised.  Treatment for a dual diagnosis will be unique for each particular combination of disorders, as each of them requires specific treatment interventions.  Again, the rehab program should be equipped to manage a variety of dual diagnosis combinations.

Treatment elements often include a multi-disciplinary approach with integrated holistic activities that amplify the talk therapy and group sessions.  One-on-one psychotherapy is the launch point, where clients will explore the possible factors that underlie the dual diagnosis.  These factors might include past traumas, childhood abuse or neglect, sexual assault, grief and loss, marital psychological and/or physical abuse, or other causes.  In tandem with the talk therapy, clients will engage in group therapy sessions with peers, addiction education classes, recovery community meetings, and adjunct therapies such as meditation, yoga, acupuncture, neurofeedback, and recreational therapies.

Capo By the Sea Provides Expert Dual Diagnosis Treatment

Capo By the Sea is an elite dual diagnosis treatment program located in Dana Point, California.  With a team of dual diagnosis experts heading the program, Capo By the Sea offers the most effective, evidence-based approach to treat the effects of drug use and mental health disorders. As a luxury rehab, Capo By the Sea offers golf, spa treatments, pet friendly, acupuncture, EMDR therapy, couples rehab, and a nutritionist in addition to superb accommodations in a seaside location.  For more information about the dual diagnosis program, please contact Capo By the Sea today at (888) 529-2114.