There could be various factors causing mental disorders. They include, but are not limited to, genes, environmental influences such as peer pressure and stress, as well as side effects of medication. A major factor responsible for poor mental health, which often gets ignored, is acute or chronic abuse of addiction-forming substances. Drugs or alcohol are an easy means to escape from life’s miseries and ease the pain. Little do people realize that intoxication can create chemical imbalance in the brain causing a mental disorder.
There are two critical phases of substance abuse, namely intoxication and withdrawal. A closer look at these two will help in better understanding:
Intoxication: The immediate and temporary effect of a substance is intoxication. During this state, a person might feel euphoric, sleepier, relaxed and calmer than usual. Intoxication alters a person’s mood, impairs the judgment ability and hinders decision-making skills. There is a greater chance of risk-taking behavior, and impaired coordination and physical functioning can cause accidents, grave injuries and death.
Withdrawal: When people decide to quit drugs and take the preliminary steps, withdrawal symptoms develop. Their decision to quit substance abuse may be due to the paucity of money or resources. They may just go cold turkey or reduce the dose drastically, leading to severe withdrawal symptoms, such as panic attack, disorientation, vomiting and breathing difficulty, which sometimes proves to be life-threatening.
Addiction closely linked to mental health
When mental disorders manifest because of substance abuse, these are known as substance-induced mental disorders, commonly referred as dual diagnosis or co-occurring disorders. Substances like alcohol, cannabis, tobacco, caffeine, anti-anxiety pills, sedative drugs, hallucinogens, opioids and stimulants are known to cause mental health issues.
Given below are certain examples of substance-induced mental disorders:
Alcohol-induced psychiatric disorders (AIPD): Alcohol is a depressant and affects the mood in a negative way. Heavy alcohol use affects how the brain functions and can lead to psychiatric disorders such as anxiety and depression. A person may find it difficult to concentrate, remains sad and irritable, and has poor judgment abilities. It can also lead to antisocial and aggressive behaviors.
Cannabis-induced psychosis: One of the previous studies established the association between cannabis and psychosis after using a concentrated extract of cannabinoids with very high amounts of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) known as oil, wax or dab. The study was based on an analysis of two different cases which demonstrated the high-risk associated with using even dabs by the physicians who advocate the medicinal use of marijuana.
Opioid-induced psychotic symptoms: A past study reported that an individual suffered from the psychotic side-effects of increased dose of buprenorphine, an opioid used with naltroxene for managing opioid addiction. When the dose was increased, he experienced delusions, and tactile and visual hallucinations which gradually subsided when the patient abstained from the drug.
Road to recovery
The prediction of one type of substance-induced mental disorder is challenging because different patients respond differently to substance use even with the same substance. It is also possible that a person may be using more than one substance. Health practitioners need to screen the patients for the presence of any psychiatric illness and evaluate family history. The patient should be informed about the side effects of harmful substances and encouraged to seek treatment at the earliest. If a person suffers from co-occurring disorders, he or she should be given holistic treatment to address both the problems.
If you know someone suffering from a co-occurring addiction and mental health disorder, it is time to consult a medical expert and seek the best solution. The Dual Diagnosis Helpline can connect you to one of the finest dual diagnosis rehab centers near you. You can call at our 24/7 helpline 855-981-6047 or chat online with an expert to locate state-of-the-art dual diagnosis facility near you.