December 5, 2021

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Is Substance Abuse the Real Problem? A mental health disorder may be the cause

Mental illness can lead to a substance abuse problem. This condition is called concurrent disorders, also known as co-occurring disorders, twin disorders, dual diagnosis, or co-morbidity. Simply put, it means that there is an addiction and mental health disorder occurring at the same time or at different times.

If this condition is left untreated, it can cause relapses, making rehabilitation very difficult.

Statistics Canada points out that in 2012, an estimated 282,000 Canadians aged 15 to 64 (1.2%) had both a mood or anxiety disorder and a drug use disorder. Alcohol or drugs during the previous year.

A mental health disorder is an illness that must be treated.

Mental illness can manifest itself as cancer or any other illness. It is not a weakness; it is a biological condition that is triggered by the social environment.

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“Mental illness is defined by changes that affect a person’s thinking, mood or behavior, and that cause him distress or suffering” (Government of Quebec). The National Institute of Excellence in Health and Social Services specifies that mental disorders have different levels of severity. They can go so far as to affect social interactions, the ability to work, and to carry out daily activities.

If you suffer from hyperglycemia, you will see a specialist. The same goes for a chronic mental health disorder.

Why can underlying mental conditions cause addictions?

“There are two possible explanations for the link between substance abuse disorders and major depression. First, the two disorders may have common underlying genetic and environmental factors that jointly increase the risk of both disorders. Second, the two disorders can be causally related, with each disorder increasing the risk of developing the other” (W. Kuria et al.).

A person who suffers from a mental health disorder, such as anxiety or depression, wants to feel better. Psychoactive substances provide temporary relief in difficult-to-manage situations. Alcohol or drugs seem at first glance to be ideal solutions, but they only make the situation worse. Over time, the body builds up a tolerance, and it takes larger amounts of the substance to achieve the same feeling of well-being, which leads to addiction.

It is also important to understand that both disorders affect the same part of the brain. “It is therefore not surprising to observe a high rate of co-morbidity between addiction and other mental illnesses. While the link is complex, some mental health issues increase risk factors for substance abuse. “[English] (Gordon and Steven)

Can substance abuse cause mental illness?

A substance abuse problem can create a mental disorder over time. The abuse of a psychoactive substance changes the structure and neurochemistry of the brain. For example, long-term cannabis use that started in adolescence can lead to psychosis or hallucinations in adulthood. Constant use of cocaine can create depression because it over-stimulates the body and mind. When use stops, it can take up to five years to recover from the mental disorder.

Is COVID-19 a trauma?

“The term trauma refers to shocking and destabilizing events or experiences, usually involving significant threats to the safety and physical, emotional or psychological well-being of the victim (s), their relatives and friends (as well as than other people). Its onset is usually sudden and unexpected and may be a single event ”(American Psychological Association, p.6).

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