Mental illness is hypernym that encompasses a wide range of distinct diagnosable mental health ailments, disorders, diseases, and conditions, and is characterized by a “clinically significant disturbance in an individual’s cognition, emotional regulation, or behavior… [and] it is usually associated with distress or impairment in important areas of functioning.” There is no single cause for mental illness, rather a confluence of factors contribute to risk for mental illness. For example, it is well known that alcohol and certain drugs can cause mental illness or trigger a pre-existing psychological disorder. Research indicates that the following mental health conditions may be influenced by substances, as indicated below:
- Major Depressive Disorder (Depression): As explained by the World Health Organization (WHO), depression is “characterized by persistent sadness and a lack of interest or pleasure in previously rewarding or enjoyable activities,” resulting in significant impairment in one’s daily life.
- Alcohol: Studies have shown that chronic alcohol abuse causes changes in brain chemistry and may lead to folate deficiency, both of which are causes of depressive disorder.
- Benzodiazepines: Benzodiazepines can contribute to the development of depression and worsen symptoms in people who have depression.
- Amphetamines: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) asserts that depression is a possible adverse reaction of amphetamine use.
- Opioids: Research has found that prolonged opioid use significantly increases the risk of depression.
- Bipolar Disorder: Is a mood disorder that is characterized by noticeable, unprovoked, sometimes extreme, changes in mood and behavior, that typically present as severe episodic mood swings, shifting between emotional highs (manias) to emotional lows (depressions) with intervals of stable moods.
- Alcohol: Withdrawal from alcohol abuse may trigger bipolar symptoms.
- Cannabis: A recent study found that use of marijuana may trigger mania in people who had never had manic symptoms previously. Research has also found that cannabis use in people who already have bipolar disorder can induce manic episodes.
- Stimulants: Stimulant medications at high doses can induce symptoms of mania and psychosis both of which are symptoms of bipolar disorder.
- Combinations of mind-altering drugs: Mixing mind-altering substances has a definite propensity to cause manic symptoms.
- Anxiety disorders: According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), “anxiety disorders are a group of related conditions, each having unique symptoms. However, all anxiety disorders have one thing in common: persistent, excessive fear or worry in situations that are not threatening.”
- Alcohol: Alcohol changes levels of serotonin and other neurotransmitters in the brain, which can worsen anxiety.
- Opioids: Anxiety disorders are highly associated with non-medical prescription opioid use.
- Benzodiazepines: The long-term use of benzodiazepines has been known to have a similar effect on the brain as alcohol and is significantly associated with the development of anxiety.
Cannabis can lead to adverse psychological effects. According to Harvard Health, regular marijuana use increases one’s risk for developing psychosis. A recent study of 6,800 people found that of those who had experienced cannabis-induced psychosis, one-third later developed schizophrenia or bipolar disorder.
For Information and Support
If you are concerned for yourself or a loved one regarding substance abuse and/ or addiction, we recommend reaching out for help as soon as possible. If left untreated, substance abuse can result in long lasting and potentially life-threatening consequences. Keep in mind: you are not alone! There is an entire network of professionals that are available to help and support you and your loved one throughout the recovery process. The earlier you seek support, the sooner your loved one can return to a happy, healthy, and fulfilling life.
lease do not hesitate to reach out with any questions regarding our specific program at Haven House Addiction Treatment and/ or general substance abuse and/ or addiction treatment related information. Our highly trained staff is readily available to discuss how we might best be able to help you and your loved one. We can be reached by phone at 424-258-6792. You are also welcomed to contact anytime us via email at firstname.lastname@example.org