Mental Health and Substance Abuse Disorders

Mental and substance abuse disorders may share some underlying causes.
Studies have shown that more than one in four adults suffering from some form of mental health disorder may also abuse drugs or alcohol.

However, it has also been noted that substance abuse occurs most often with those suffering from depression, schizophrenia, anxiety disorders or personality disorders.  While those dealing with one of the afore-mentioned mental health disorders may resort to drugs or alcohol as a form of self-medication; many times, these same disorders can appear after the adult becomes addicted to their drug of choice.

Mental and substance abuse disorders may share some underlying causes.  Included in these causes may be brain composition, genetic vulnerabilities and/or early exposure to stress or trauma.  Someone dealing with a mental health problem and an accompanying substance abuse disorder must receive treatment for both issues, in order to fully realize a healthy and sober life.  The treatment for either or both of these health issues may include rehabilitation, support groups, medication and talk therapy.  Determining what came first – the personality disorder or the chemical abuse problem may be of little consequence, if both issues are timely and appropriately treated by trained professionals.

When one is dealing with a loved one who is exhibiting a drastic change in personality and/or behavior, recognizing the signs and seeking expert help may be a life-supporting decision.  Teens and young adults may go through periods of acting out and withdrawal.  However, if this behavior continues for an extended period of time and is accompanied by one or more of the following symptoms, this may be indicative of a more serious, underlying cause.  If the behavior of your teen or adult includes a lack of motivation and a significant drop in attendance at work or school, frequent fights, accidents or illegal activities or engaging in secretive or suspicious behaviors – these may be the telling signs of a mental health or substance abuse disorder.

Oftentimes, family members see their teen or adult exhibiting sudden mood swings or angry outbursts.  Deterioration in physical appearance often signifies problems, including sudden weight loss or gain, bloodshot eyes or abnormally-sized pupils, fearful, anxious or paranoid behavior, or extreme changes in sleep behaviors.  Watch for abnormal social changes, as well.  If there is a sudden change in friends, hobbies or social hang-outs; these may be indicative of substance abuse or the development of a mental health disorder.  Legal problems can accompany substance abuse, along with an inflated need for money or the appearance of financial problems.

There is professional help available for the family member who may be suffering from substance abuse and its underlying personality disorders.  Early diagnosis and expert help should be sought.

Distributed by Client Initiatives

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State: CA
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