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How Substance Abuse Affects Mental Health

Substance and Mental Health

Conversations about substance abuse often focus on the physical ailments that come with use, withdrawal, and recovery. People can see the results of drug use and how it affects the form. Depending on the substance, weight loss and gain, scarring, bruising and physical illness can all be evident right in front of someone’s eyes.

By focusing on the physical, it is easy to overlook the psychological effects of substance use disorders. Many times, the psychological impact lacks the striking visuals of someone’s physical health failing right in front of them.

Ongoing substance abuse can affect the brain’s health both short-term and long-term, especially if pre-existing mental health issues are present. In fact, those who have a chemical dependence are almost twice as likely to have anxiety and mood disorders already. Paranoia, hallucinations, depression and other debilitating conditions can develop on top of these illnesses. Often, people suffering from substance use disorders will develop mental health issues that compound with a pre-existing condition, making daily life even more difficult to navigate.

These changes in mental health will produce behaviors that are consistent with substance use disorders.

  • Secretive or suspicious behavior
  • Changes in their social environment, sometimes distancing themselves from those they were close to while spending time with new, separate groups
  • Bouts of hyperactivity, irritability, and anger
  • Lowered performance and attendance at work or school
  • Decreased motivation and interest in things they once loved
  • Suspicious and paranoid thoughts towards close friends and family
  • Risk-taking behavior and frequent instances of getting into trouble

These changes affect the patient’s ability to maintain relationships, succeed at work or school, socialize, learn new skills, and contribute positively to society in general.  This isolation can subsequently lead to feelings of shame or defeat and present a barrier to a patient seeking treatment for their drug or alcohol misuse.

It is essential that treatment for substance use disorders includes attention on mental health together with the medical treatment of symptoms. Pathway Healthcare puts an important emphasis on using counseling as a tool in recovery alongside medication. As a substance use disorder treatment center, we provide thorough and well-researched mental health care that analyzes a patient’s mental health and counsels them on how to cope with these issues; teaching them healthy habits for overcoming the psychological damage substance abuse has caused. If you or your loved one is suffering from the mental health effects of drug and/or alcohol abuse and needs help, contact Pathway Healthcare. We can arrange an appointment with one of our many specialists for a consultation. With the help of Pathway Healthcare can make your way towards a healthier, happier life of stability.