HealthCommon Mental Health Conditions Associated with Addiction

Common Mental Health Conditions Associated with Addiction


Mental health disorders like depression and substance abuse are closely linked. Experts believe that one of the factors leading to substance use is a mental disorder. About half the people dealing with a substance abuse problem also have a co-occurring mental health problem.

The connection between these two is complex, as one can start before the other. People with mental health conditions often turn to substances to self-medicate till it becomes an addiction. On the other hand, drug abuse can make one experience some symptoms of a mental illness. For instance, people using it have an increased risk of psychosis. When you go to a recovery center, they will evaluate you first to assess whether you have a co-occurring disorder, then proceed with treatment. Here are some of the common mental health conditions associated with substance-use disorders.

Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety disorders are among the common mental health disorders comprising several issues. They include phobias, generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, and panic disorder. All these conditions can increase the chances of addiction. Besides that, research has found that anxiety disorders preceded substance use disorder in about 75% of these cases.


This condition can be characterized by racing thoughts and impulsive behavior, and about 15% of adults who have ADHD turn to substance abuse, especially alcohol, to relieve their symptoms. The good thing is that one can learn to manage both ADHD and addiction with the right treatment.


This is also a common mental health issue that most people are facing today. According to statistics, about 7.8% of US adults and 13% of adolescents experience at least one depressive episode. Unfortunately, about 65% of teenagers and 35% of adults fail to get treated or diagnosed with this condition. Addiction is more common among people with depression.


Post-traumatic stress disorder is technically an anxiety disorder. However, the risks of addiction are significantly higher compared to other types of anxiety disorders. People get PTSD after undergoing a traumatic experience. While it is common among veterans, it can happen to anyone who has had a traumatic experience in the past. Symptoms of PTSD include flashbacks or nightmares of a traumatic event, avoiding thoughts or anything that can trigger the experience, irritability, being easily startled, etc. Since coping with these symptoms can be challenging, most people opt for drugs and alcohol.

Bipolar Disorder

This is one of the most misunderstood mental health conditions. About 56% of people with bipolar disorder have a high chance of developing substance-use disorder. Most people tend to assume that bipolar is similar to mood swings. However, this is more than that, with the victim experiencing emotional highs and lows from time to time. It is crucial to get help as people with this condition also tend to have suicidal thoughts.

Treatment For a Co-occurring Disorder

When one has a co-occurring disorder, the treatment approach is integrated to address both the substance abuse and the mental health disorder. It does not matter what condition came first. Recovery depends on both being treated. You can find out more about treatment for co-occurring disorders, whether for yourself or a loved one. Generally, treatment for substance abuse may include detoxification, medication, behavioral therapy, and support groups. On the other hand, treatment for a mental health disorder includes counseling, medication, lifestyle changes, self-help measures, and peer support.

While there is so much awareness of mental health conditions and how they can cause an addiction, more has to be done. More people need to know what the signs are and when they need to get help. This will allow people to get help early before the situation escalates.

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