How Open Discussion of Mental Health Disorders Can Prevent Addiction

How Open Discussion of Mental Health Disorders Can Prevent Addiction

When people struggle with mental health disorders, a commonly recommended treatment includes individual therapy

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) reports facts about the relationship between mental health disorders and addiction, including the following:

  • Approximately 50% of individuals with severe mental disorders are affected by substance abuse.
  • 37 percent of alcohol abusers and 53% of drug abusers also have at least one serious mental illness.
  • Of all people diagnosed as mentally ill, 29% abuse either alcohol or drugs.

While there is a definite relationship between mental health disorders and addiction, understanding why and how these disorders co-occur is more complicated.

Primary Mental Health Disorders

According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), the most common mental health disorders include the following:

  • Depression – Intense feelings of sadness that continue for an extended period of time, causing a person to lose interest in activities they previously enjoyed.
  • Anxiety – Responding to a particular situation with an inappropriately accelerated psychological and physical reaction that may include physical symptoms such as rapid heartbeat and sweating.
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) – Being consumed with thoughts or fears (obsessions) that trigger individuals to perform behaviors that are routine and almost ritualistic (compulsions).
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) – Being unable to overcome a traumatic event and experiencing long-term symptoms including flashbacks, hyperarousal, and avoidance behaviors when thoughts of a traumatic event arise.

There are many other mental health disorders but they all share some common traits and often trigger individuals to feel anxious, out of control and fearful.

Mental Health Disorders and Substance Abuse

People who experience negative emotional feelings, overwhelming mental thoughts, and physical symptoms that cause discomfort attempt to relieve these conditions through a variety of means. Unfortunately, many people turn to alcohol or drugs to receive temporary relief. Alcohol, for example, is a central nervous system (CNS) depressant that causes a sense or euphoria and often reduces inhibitions. When consumed in moderate levels, alcohol may temporarily relieve some of the symptoms of some mental health disorders. Additionally, drugs like marijuana, opiates and amphetamines can produce feeling of euphoria, which may also temporarily relieve or mask some of the symptoms of mental illness.

Open Discussion to Prevent Addiction

When people struggle with mental health disorders, one of the most commonly recommended treatment options includes individual therapy. Group therapy is also highly recommended. What these two therapies have in common is talk. Having a forum to openly discuss your thoughts and feelings is highly effective in helping individuals to better understand their mental health issues.

Through talk therapy, people also learn how to develop more healthy strategies to relieve some of the pressure that builds up as a result of these mental health disorders. Since talk therapy is a viable treatment option for mental health disorders, it makes sense that the more you can have open discussions about your mental health disorder, the quicker you may be able to find healthy coping strategies that allow you to avoid drugs or alcohol.

Get Help for Mental Health Disorders or Addiction

It is important to understand the relationship between mental health disorders and addiction so that you can seek the best treatment for you. Therefore, please call our toll-free helpline today. Our admissions coordinators are available 24 hours a day to answer any questions you might have about treatment for mental health disorders and addiction.