Your mental health is a vital component of your risk for addiction, and it’s also a vital component of staying sober. There are several reasons your mental health is such an important part of your recovery.
A study published by the National Institute on Drug Abuse notes that 1 in 4 individuals with serious mental illness also has a substance use disorder. Let’s look at 3 reasons why your mental health matters relative to your addiction.
1. Common Risk Factors
Both substance abuse and mental health disorders have similar risk factors. For example, certain environmental factors like chronic stress and early childhood trauma can lead to both substance abuse and mental health problems.
Additionally, regions in the brain that control impulsive behavior, emotions, and decision-making can be influenced by substance use and mental health problems. That suggests there may even be genetic factors that can influence your risk for both addiction and certain mental health conditions.
If you have the genes that predispose you to mental illness, those same genes might also predispose you to addiction. With the right environmental stimulus, it’s easy for you to develop both a mental illness and an addiction.
2. Mental Illness Can Result in Substance Abuse
Another way the two are related is that one may cause the other; specifically, mental illness can contribute to substance abuse. Many mental health conditions, such as depression, can cause an individual to self-medicate.
That self-medication can easily take the form of substance abuse. It’s a common theme among addicts, but it illustrates just how important it is that you take good care of your mental health.
Many people with mental illnesses simply don’t have good coping skills to manage their illness, and that can lead them down the path toward addiction. By working with peers and professionals, you can find better coping strategies for dealing with mental illness.
3. Substance Abuse Can Result in Mental Illness
It also works the other way around. Substance abuse and addiction can also cause mental illness. Many substances alter those areas in the brain that affect mood, decision-making abilities, and impulsive behavior.
In fact, certain substances can result in both structural and functional changes in the brain that produce mental illness. This is why it’s vital to think carefully about your choices.
It’s a Vicious Cycle
The use of various substances is often related to attempts to mitigate the effects of mental illness. For example, if you suffer from anxiety, you might take your substance of choice to alleviate that feeling.
But your substance of choice can easily produce anxiety, even paranoia, which causes you to take even more. Likewise, once addicted to a substance of any kind, you feel isolated, and that often results in depression, which might cause you to use in order to feel better.
It’s a vicious cycle and one that’s hard to break. But it is possible. The key is in surrounding yourself with people who truly have your best interests at heart. They can help you find the right strategies for coping with life’s challenges.
Sober Sidekick Can Help You Break the Cycle
Sober Sidekick is a social media platform and app that is made up of an entire community of peers who know about addiction and the mental illness that often accompanies it. They can help you get and stay sober. There is help; it’s up to you to reach out to get it. Give Sober Sidekick a try today, and get the help you need.