The Connection Between Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders

dual diagnosis

The connection between mental health and substance use has become a popular topic of conversation in recent years. While neither disorder is directly responsible for causing the other, both have the ability to feed off each other. 

Roughly half of people who have a mental health disorder also struggle with substance use. Treating both disorders separately at different times does not work. The best solution is to treat co-occurring disorders simultaneously. 

Wolf Creek Recovery offers dual diagnosis treatment in Arizona. We believe that a holistic approach is most effective, as it allows the mind, body and spirit to heal at the same time. This comprehensive approach also builds a healthy foundation that supports long-term healing and recovery. 

What is the Relationship Between Mental Health and Substance Use? 

Substance use disorders are considered mental health conditions, and they often behave similarly to other disorders. It’s believed that many of the risk factors that are responsible for mental health problems are also responsible for substance use problems, and vice versa. These include: 

  • Genetic tendencies. Substance use and mental health disorders often run in families. If someone in your family has suffered from either of these conditions, you are more at risk for developing them as well. 
  • Environmental triggers. Stress or trauma can raise the risk for substance use disorders and mental health disorders. Trauma can affect the brain in a number of ways, and some people end up turning to drugs and alcohol to cope with the effects.
  • Symptoms feed off each other. While neither disorder causes the other, they do feed off each other. Therefore, if someone is abusing drugs, they are more likely to develop a mental health problem and vice versa. 

Furthermore, substance use and mental health disorders can affect the way the brain functions, negatively impact relationships and cause physical damage. Fortunately, both conditions respond well to treatment and can be treated at the same time. 

Why is it Difficult to Determine What Comes First? 

When a person is reaching out for dual diagnosis treatment in Prescott, they’re almost always unsure of what came first – the substance use or mental health problem. Not only is this difficult to determine, but also it can be hard to know what symptoms are from the mental illness and what symptoms are from the addiction. 

The lines blur together because the symptoms of mental illness and addiction overlap and feed off each other. The feeling of euphoria associated with drug use is often the reason why people turn to drugs to self-medicate. A physical dependency can cause depressive symptoms, leading to increased consumption and greater psychological dependence. This is why treating both conditions simultaneously is best. 

Get Dual Diagnosis Treatment in Arizona 

Wolf Creek Recovery is a treatment center that treats both mental health and substance use disorders. We take a holistic approach that involves a combination of therapy, counseling, medication and life skills training. Not only do we help our clients stop their substance use, but also we teach clients new ways to cope with stress and enjoy their lives. To learn more about our approach to treating co-occurring disorders, contact our dual diagnosis treatment center today.