For those suffering from addiction, the news that a mental disorder might also have entered into the equation can be crippling. The sad truth is that many conditions go hand-in-hand, such as substance abuse and anxiety disorders, depression, schizophrenia or schizoaffective and various other personality disorders. Enduring a two-front attack on your wellbeing is never easy, but awareness of the problem can help you cope. Here are three commonly known pairings of substance use and mental disorders.
From Schizophrenia to Marijuana and Back
The findings of an American Journal of Psychiatry article are particularly illuminating. Evidently, nearly 50 percent of those diagnosed with schizophrenia also have a co-occurring substance use disorder. Alcohol and cannabis were the two most common offenders. Schizophrenics are approximately three times as likely as the general population to experience a dependency or addiction to these substances.
This affliction is not limited to those who abuse the drug on a repeated basis. In fact, some studies indicate that marijuana can enthrall patients with first-episode schizophrenic psychosis and an earlier onset of schizophrenia has been measured among cannabis users. Essentially, if you are already prone to schizophrenia, marijuana can exacerbate the issue and cause the symptoms to onset earlier than they would have otherwise.
The Terrible Cocktail: Anti-Social Personality Disorder and Alcoholism
A study published by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) reports that “alcoholics are 35 times more likely than non-alcoholics to also use cocaine,” and the statistics are similarly alarming for other illicit substances. Aside from the alcoholism potentially leading to the abuse of additional substances, it can also exacerbate the symptoms of antisocial personality disorder (ASPD).
Both conditions come about earlier in life. The unhealthy behavior of any alcoholic can lead to pushing away friends and loves ones, as well as the inability to retain gainful employment and other issues, but those who also have ASPD are in especial danger. Consuming excessive amounts of alcohol lowers one’s inhibitions, which can highlight and drag to the forefront all of those socially problematic behaviors.
Depression and the Depressant: Heroin
Heroin, as a depressant, can cause the user to feel pleasant and calm, due to its slowing down of the messages sent back and forth between the body and brain. This is what leads people to try it in the first instance. However, prolonged use can actually physically alter the brain by searing away pleasure-producing parts. This sort of brain damage can lead to depression. Thus, the abuser will literally be unable to experience pleasure, happiness or even calm, without partaking of the drug again. Depression and heroin are old friends and instances of their simultaneously affecting a patient are far too common.
If you find yourself or a loved one suffering from any of these issues, or a combination thereof, you should know that there is help available to you. Treating dual diagnosis patients requires expertise and finesse. At South Coast Counseling, our inpatient drug treatment center is staffed with professionals specializing in drug and alcohol abuse. Our rehab center integrates addiction and mental health treatments, and is equipped to treat these afflictions and many more with skill and, perhaps more importantly, compassion. Reach out to us today and let us help you through this trying time.