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The Connection Between Addiction and Mental Illness

The Connection Between Addiction and Mental Illness Serenity Oaks

Why Addiction and Mental Illness Often Occur Together

It is common for individuals living with a substance use disorder to have co-occurring mental health disorders. Within the United States, there are approximately 9 million people who are living with mental illnesses and substance abuse disorders. Typically, people with mental health disorders will experience negative side effects and symptoms from their mental health disorders which can lead individuals to turn to substance abuse as a method of self-medicating. The more someone engages in drug or alcohol use, the more there is an increased risk of worsening the symptoms of mental health. This can result in a spiral of drug and alcohol abuse and mental illness that becomes difficult to overcome without the support of treatment programs. 

Click here to speak with Serenity Oaks staff at any time. We’re available 24/7 to provide answers and begin the admissions process right away. Call (833) 720-0708 today.

Mental Illness Can Cause Substance Abuse

When you are living with a mental health disorder, the symptoms that can occur can feel debilitating if you don’t have the tools to effectively and safely manage the unpleasant side effects. The allure of an escape or sensation of numbing emotions through drugs and alcohol abuse can feel like the only method of short-term treatment and relief from your symptoms of mental health. 

Depending on your specific mental health disorders, you will experience a wide range of side effects and symptoms. Alcohol and drug addiction commonly cooccur with mental health conditions such as

  • attention deficit disorder
  • posttraumatic stress disorder
  • anxiety disorder 
  • bipolar disorder 
  • mood disorders 
  • eating disorders 
  • personality disorder 

These mental health conditions are known to cause significant impacts on a person’s life if they go untreated or unmanaged. Often, people with a history of emotional turmoil and trauma will experience significant symptoms of mental health and are at an increased risk of developing substance use disorders. When a person develops a mental health condition, it changes the brain activity which creates an increased risk of developing substance use disorders as it can increase the rewarding effects of drugs and alcohol causing individuals to be unable to see the negative impacts that substance abuse is having within their life. 

Substance Abuse Can Cause Mental Illness

Substance abuse has been known to impact the same brain areas that often cause disruptions in mental health conditions such as anxiety disorder, mood disorders, schizophrenia, and impulse control behavioral conditions. Alcohol or drug abuse can cause changes within the brain function and structure which can ignite underlying symptoms of mental health conditions that you are predisposed to. 

Mental Illness and Addiction Can Stem From the Same Root Causes

There can be a  strong correlation between the root causes of mental health conditions and drug or alcohol addiction. Common signs and causes of mental health and addiction are:

Genetic vulnerabilities

There has been research that has shown there is approximately 40-60% of people who are living with a co-occurring disorder have a genetic predisposition to substance use disorders and mental health conditions. 

Environmental factors

People experiencing a history of trauma, negative peer or family influences, and emotional turmoil have an increased risk of developing an alcohol or drug addiction. 


Individuals with high levels of stress are at an increased risk of turning to substance abuse as a method of self-medication to alleviate the side effects of stress. 

Why Treating Mental Illness and Addiction Together is Critical for Success

With the support of a dual diagnosis program, individuals will begin to understand the connections between mental health and addiction including how one impacts the other. Individuals will identify how their mental health disorders have been negatively impacting their ability to function throughout the day while learning new methods of managing their symptoms of mental health with the support of behavioral therapy, holistic treatment, and medication-assisted treatment. As you learn how to cope with your mental health condition, you will be able to address your underlying causes of drug or alcohol addiction allowing you to heal from the traumas of your past and be able to create a strong, healthy future in sobriety.

Click here to speak with Serenity Oaks staff at any time. We’re available 24/7 to provide answers and begin the admissions process right away. Call (833) 720-0708 today.

Get Started at Serenity Oaks

At Serenity Oaks Wellness Center, we offer residential detox and addiction treatment with a wide range of modalities to address the needs of all our clients. Our high staff-to-client ratio ensures everyone that enters our facility gets the personal attention they need and deserve for a safe and successful detox process. To learn more about our program, contact Serenity Oaks Wellness Center today at 844-720-6847.
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