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How are Mental Health and Substance Abuse Related?

When You’re Out of Resources, and Nowhere to Turn: Tips for Professionals

People with mental health problems often turn to drugs or alcohol to cope with stress, anxiety, depression, or other illnesses. In most cases, people with mental health problems seek professional help from therapists or psychiatrists and take prescription medication for treatment. There are people with mental health issues that also go untreated or undiagnosed.

Alcohol is a depressant and when a person with anxiety or depression drinks, he or she increases the intensity of depression. Drinking alcohol while on prescription or over-the-counter medication is not recommended. Almost every medication has a warning label indicating that alcohol should be avoided. Many people turn to drugs or alcohol anyway, which can lead to physical harm or death. Drugs and alcohol alter the effects of medication.

A person with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) is at high risk of substance abuse. Traumatic experiences can cause a person to turn to drugs or alcohol to escape reality. There is treatment available for people living with PTSD. Long-term therapy and medication are necessary for a person with PTSD. People with this disorder should not self-medicate with drugs or alcohol. PTSD is a very serious condition and should be monitored by a medical professional.

Everyone experiences stressful situations in life. Financial problems, job stability, a terminally ill loved one, an elderly parent, or death are all stress factors. Unfortunately, people easily turn to alcohol to subdue their stress. Drinking alcohol causes the brain to release dopamine which results in pleasurable, relieved, euphoric feelings. These effects are short-term, and a person will drink more and more to achieve the same feelings from the first use. This can trigger a cycle of addiction. A person’s physical, mental, and emotional health are negatively affected.

People with mental health issues also turn to drugs for stress and anxiety relief. A person’s mental health issues can contribute to his or her addiction. Mental health and drug or alcohol addiction need to be treated professionally and with medical supervision. The euphoric effects of drugs and alcohol are only temporary but can cause long-term damage to vital organs in a person’s body. An individual’s mental health can contribute to substance abuse. Both should be treated in order to live a healthier, substance-free life.

The Center for Professional Recovery offers the Professional Treatment Program, designed specifically to address the unique needs of professionals, like first-responders. Our programs are designed to treat co-occurring disorders which might arise and restore first-responders in a way which allows them to return to work and continue taking care of their mental health. For information on our full continuum of care for professionals, call us today: (855) 422-4129

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