Why do some people develop a mental illness and an addiction, while others have only one problem to deal with at a time? The answer to that question is likely quite personal, and it might vary from one individual to another. But there are some specific mental illnesses that have been closely related to the development of addictions. Understanding what these mental challenges are, and how they can morph into addiction, could help some families to provide the kind of help that could allow someone to overcome both problems and lead a healthier life.

physical consequences

Common Pairings

Of all of the co-occurring disorders available, the blend of post-traumatic disorder (PTSD) and addiction seems to be one of the most common. According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, about eight percent of the population will have PTSD during some point in their lifespan, and those who do often feel alone, afraid and on edge. They may not be able to sleep, to communicate with others, or to escape their damaging memories. In short, their lives will become difficult. Drugs might seem helpful to them, as they allow the brain to be quiet, slow down, and calm itself. But in time, an addiction will follow.

Depression can also spur an addiction, as people in the depths of this mental illness are physically incapable of producing the signals associated with joy. Drugs can produce those signals, and they can provide depressed people with the boost they need to get through the day without despair. But drugs can also be a crutch that leads to deeper depression, as people may find that they can only feel happy when they’re under the influence.

Anxiety disorders can also spark the use of drugs, as people dealing with various forms of anxiety might feel:
  • Unhappy
  • Nervous
  • Afraid of specific people or specific situations
  • Compelled to do certain things in order to make the symptoms ease

The National Institute of Mental Health suggests that about 18.1 percent of adults in the United States have a disorder like this, and many turn to drugs to shut off the unusual signals coming from their brain cells.

Personality disorders, including bipolar disorder, are also associated with addictions, as people who have these disorders often feel as though they’re invincible and capable of handling almost any risk without enduring any kind of negative consequence. Taking drugs to excess or using a huge amount of alcohol might seem normal to people like this, and they might be very damaged as a result.

Getting Better

While it’s vital to understand how co-occurring disorders come about, it’s even more important for impacted people to enroll in the proper treatment programs, so they really can get better. Here, they can begin to break apart their thought disorders and learn how to control their behaviors without leaning on damaging drugs. It can be remarkably helpful.

If you need assistance like this, please consider Black Bear Lodge. We specialize in the treatment of co-occurring disorders, and our treatment approach has a proven track record of helping patients find lasting recovery. Call us at 855-808-6212 and we’ll tell you more about how it works.